According to the latest statistics by the US Department of Labor, child labour violations in the US are at their highest level in nearly two decades. Child labour in the US is attributed to numerous factors including a rise in unaccompanied minors arriving in the US to work, labour shortages and inflation. However, this uptick is also related to an increased effort to crack down on employers that violate child labour laws – in other words, more cases are being brought to light and more companies are being held accountable for the negative impact they have on children. Sectors with the highest instances of child labour in the US include agriculture, meat-packing and manufacturing.
In light of a growing need among US companies to understand the risks and impact of their operations on children coupled with a volatile regulatory landscape that is resulting in the weakening of child labour protections in some states, in 2023 The Centre has significantly scaled the work we began in the US in 2022 and we foresee further growth in demand in 2024.
We have conducted on-site child rights risk assessments in four states across the US this year in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, enabling our clients to gain an in-depth insight into the child rights risks in their US supply chain, including contractors and vendors beyond Tier 1. Our assessments look at different levels of the supply chain from Tier 1 suppliers to sub-contractors of production processes and services. This includes often-overlooked areas such as cleaning, support services and recruitment agencies. We do a deep dive of child labour, working conditions, vulnerable groups such as young workers and migrant workers, sub-tier/sub-contracting analysis, and associated human rights risks. Our assessments evaluate the contextual risk of child labour within the community. This involves conducting interviews and meetings with local community members and youth. The aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the risks associated with youth engaging in hazardous work, as well as to assess the opportunities available for youth to access decent employment. Results of our assessments are presented in a report that includes recommendations for addressing risks and a clear road map for taking action.
The Centre has also delivered an increasing number of child labour prevention and remediation training sessions for US brands and their suppliers, as well as workshops on young worker management and child rights.
If you would like to learn more about our services in the US and how we can support you, please do not hesitate to contact us.