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Slavery Research Bulletin: 16 November 2020

November 16, 2020

Welcome to the Slavery Research Bulletin, the Freedom Fund’s monthly brief designed to bring you new & compelling research from the global anti-slavery movement.

Tracking transparency of fashion supply chains in southern India

Fashion Revolution, in association with the Tamil Nadu Alliance, reviews the supply chain transparency of 62 major fashion brands and retailers with reported links to textile suppliers in southern India. Supply chains for major brands are often fragmented and opaque, which can foster exploitative and unsafe working conditions. The report finds that 31 percent of brands reviewed provided incomplete lists of their textile production sites, with only one brand out of 62 capable of disclosing all of its sites.

Prevalence of child labour in cocoa production in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire

The United States Department of Labor and NORC at the University of Chicago assess progress in reducing child labour in cocoa production in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The project surveyed children aged 5 to 17 in agricultural households during cocoa harvest season between 2009 and 2019. In 2019, 45 percent of children were engaged in child labour in the cocoa growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, equivalent to 1.56 million children. An estimated 1.48 million children were also exposed to at least one form of hazardous child labour in cocoa production. Child labour increased 14 percent between 2009 and 2019, amid a 62 percent increase in cocoa production during the same period.

The economy of child labour in the Indian textile industry

The Observer Research Foundation analyses the drivers of child labour in Indian textile production. India is one of the world’s largest producers of textiles, with the industry generating two percent of India’s GDP. the report also finds a large proportion of child labourers in household-based enterprises, disproportionately affecting minority castes, ethnic and religious groups. In the textile industry, 80 percent of child labourers come from Muslim backgrounds, and while the textile industry accounts for 7 percent of all child labour in India, it is responsible for 23 percent of Muslim children in labour.

Highlighting forced labour throughout the construction sector

Grace Farms Foundation examines the risks of forced labour at all levels of the building and construction industry. Construction is the largest industrial sector in the world, contributing to 13 percent of global GDP, but remains the least modernised and the most disaggregated. Risk of forced labour and human trafficking are present at all levels of activity, from construction sites to material supply chains. The report highlights the 12 commonly used materials in buildings linked to forced labour, such as timber, bricks and steel.

Exploitation of migrant care workers during covid-19

The Caregivers’ Action Centre documents the exploitation of migrant care workers in Canada during covid-19 by drawing on surveys with 201 migrant care workers across the country. Nearly half (48 percent) of care workers reported unpaid wages for extra hours of work, equivalent to $6,552 CAD in unpaid wages per worker over the last six months. Issues were compounded by residential workers being laid off and losing accommodation, as well as lengthy waits for official documents necessary for finding new work.

Read on…

  • Amnesty International investigates ongoing cases of abuse against female domestic workers in Qatar.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s annual International Migration Outlook report examines the effects of covid-19 on movement patterns in 2020.
  • Overseas Development Institute shares some lessons learned on how best to sample migrant populations.

And finally…

The Tamil Nadu Alliance, alongside Freedom Fund partners in southern India, have released a music video on ending child marriage and supporting girls in the community. Watch the music video here.

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Written by
Nuri Weitzman