Established by the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2002, June 12 is marked by the World and National Day Against Child Labor, with the aim of calling society, workers, and governments around the world to mobilize against child labor – serious violation of human rights and fundamental labor rights and principles.
Child labor is considered to be any work carried out by minors, which impairs the child’s or adolescent’s access to school, life with family, friends and society in general, or which deprives the youth of fundamental rights, such as access to school, rest, leisure and adequate sleep. Child labor is also characterized by activities that expose them to risks of physical, mental, moral, or social harm, harming their healthy development. Simple support activities for parents or guardians that help young people in their learning and development are not prohibited.
The date is an opportunity to raise awareness, inform, debate, and highlight this serious violation of the rights of children and adolescents, a practice considered illegal, which has presented itself as an increasing challenge for society, even considering the global pandemic scenario. According to ILO, in 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 10 children were victims of forced labor in the world, today, with the increase in poverty, it is estimated that the number is higher.
Data about Child Labor
ILO estimates that there are 160 million children – aged between 5 and 17 – who were in child labor in the world.
70% of all children and adolescents in child labor (112 million) are in agriculture
There are now more children and adolescents in child labor in Sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world.
As a result of rising poverty driven by the pandemic, new analyzes suggest more than 8.9 million children and adolescents will be in child labor by the end of 2022.
Source: International Labor Organization
What has Vale been doing to help?
For Vale, this type of violation is intolerable and, to cooperate with the eradication of child labor, we have taken on a commitment and taken concrete measures to ensure that this does not occur among our direct employees, third parties and suppliers.
One of the root causes of child labor, for example, is the need to increase family income. And this critical issue is directly linked to one of the goals of our Social Ambition to lift 500,000 people out of poverty. Child labor is often a poverty cause and effect and the absence of opportunities to develop skills, as a vicious circle.
The actions are a reflection of the company’s values, widely publicized in Política Global Human Rights Policy, Human Rights Guide and Suppliers’ Code of Conduct. Check out some of them:
The company requires, through contractual clauses, that its suppliers prohibit child labor and encourages them to support initiatives and campaigns related to the prevention of this practice. Failure to comply with these clauses implies an immediate breach of contract. Moreover, Vale provides awareness-raising actions on the eradication of child labor and promotion of the rights of children and adolescents.
Since the end of 2019, Vale has been part of two institutions that have activities related to the topic: InPACTO – Instituto Pacto Nacional pela Eradicação do Trabalho Escravo works with companies to provide decent work in their national and international production chains. Childhood Brasil, a Brazilian organization that is part of the World Childhood Foundation, leads programs to protect children and adolescents from sexual violence. According to ILO, the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is one of the worst forms of child labor.
The company hires minors under 18 exclusively for the Young Apprentice program, as provided for in Brazilian legislation, and only for administrative functions, in non-operational areas and with reduced workload and compatible with the law.