Even though it's hard to find conclusive facts on the frequency of child labor in the developing world, there's no doubt that its commonplace in certain industries and regions. A recent Supply Chain Digest article quotes a column from Forbes noting that "every time you buy an imported handmade carpet, an embroidered pair of jeans, a beaded purse, a decorated box or a soccer ball there's a good chance you're acquiring something fashioned by a child." How do companies miss monitoring for the usage of child labor in their supplier’s facilities?
While some no doubt turn a blind shoulder to the problem, most simply don't know about it -- or avoid asking the questions that might turn up an issue. For example, while a direct supplier might not employ child labor in its primary facilities -- those which are subject to an onsite factory audit on a regular basis -- it very well might employ child labor in smaller plants or even sister companies for specialized stages of the production process. But on a more frequent basis, it's your supplier's suppliers who might be guilty of child labor infractions. And developing a monitoring program that takes into account multiple tiers of supplier practices is the only way to stop this from occurring.
- Jason Busch