Dutch parliament approves declaration of resposible sourcing with respect to child labour

Companies must ensure that no child labour occurs throughout their production chain. The House of Representatives voted yesterday to enforce a compulsory declaration of responsible sourcing with respect to child labour for all businesses. Labour MP Roelof van Laar submitted the private member’s bill to combat child labour used in products and services sold throughout the Netherlands. Terre des Hommes championed this law with their research and lobbying and is pleased with the support from parliament.

Child labour

Child rights expert Aysel Sabahoglu: "It is a large and important step in the fight against exploitation. Laws create social norms that are clear and precise. They also create a level playing field: all companies must be committed to preventing and stopping child labour in their supply chains. We applaud MP Roelof van Laar, for his commitment to preventing child labour and getting this bill through parliament. "


The Dutch government has been trying to combat child labour with International Corporate Social Responsibility Agreements (ICSR covenants). This is an important step in the right direction, but it's not fast enough to eradicate child labour throughout the world. It takes a long time to agree the covenants and more importantly they only voluntary and not actually binding. They don't oblige companies to take steps when cases of child exploitation are suspected, even though the international community has already agreed to eradicate child labour by 2025 (Sustainable Development Goal 8.7). 

Companies can do much more

This Act shall come into force in 2020, at the earliest. Companies will have to really work hard to eliminate child labour by 2025. There is lots they can already do. Companies can , for example,  pay better wages, reduce working hours, help children to school and give young people vocational training. They can also work with local organizations to tackle the problem through prevention, education, advocacy and direct assistance to child workers.

More than just research and lobbying

In addition to research and lobbying, TDH fights to eradicate the worst forms of child labour by giving children the opportunity to go, or return to school, helping families find ways to generate income so that children do not have to work, adapting dangerous working conditions and informing parents about the dangers of child labour and the need for education of their children. 

Child labour in India

Last year, Terre des Hommes published a report on child labour in the mica mines in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in India. The report showed that thousands of children are  working in hazardous and unhealthy conditions in the mica mines. Terre des Hommes is working with both industry and the government in order to reduce child labour in mica mines.


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