The recent Bloomberg’ article “Victoria’s Secret Revealed in Child Picking Burkina Faso Cotton” contains serious allegations of child labor on a farm which appears to be part of a Fair Trade cooperative.
While this situation did not involve any business or producer partners of Fair Trade USA, we are saddened and dismayed to learn of any instance of child labor within or outside the Fair Trade system.
Rigorous Fair Trade standards are meant to ensure that farmers and workers can count on more than just better prices. For example, freedom of association, safe working conditions, proper disposal of waste, and limited use of agrochemicals are all part of Fair Trade. And of course child labor, forced labor and discrimination are also strictly prohibited.
Trained auditors inspect Fair Trade producer organizations to monitor for child labor. When auditors uncover suspected child labor situations, they immediately act to protect the safety and well-being of the impacted children, reporting the incidents to the relevant government and child protection authorities, with follow-up to ensure the wellbeing of the child.
Learn more about FLO’s proactive work to eliminate child labor.