Cooperating with the private sector in Child Labour Free Zones in India

Efforts to reduce and remediate child labour require attention from multiple angles. One key element is the role of the private sector. The guide 'Cooperating with the Private Sector in Child Labour Free Zones in India' focuses on how Community Based Organizations (CBOs), NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and Trade Unions can effectively engage private sector actors in their efforts to eradicate child labour, including by cooperating with them in an area-based approach, working towards Child Labour Free Zones.

To this end the objective of engaging private sector actors should be to:

  • Bring attention to the (risks of) negative impact of private sector operations on child rights;
  • Have the private sector actors recognize their responsibility to respect child rights including combating child labour and mitigate the impact of child labour;
  • Include private sector actors as partners in Child Labour Free Zone (CLFZ) initiatives;
  • Simultaneously encourage efforts to improve adult workers’ income and working conditions and supporting the realization of the Right to Education (RTE) goals.

During the past years, Stop Child Labour has been successful in putting pressure on a number of European and other multinational companies to accept and live up to their responsibility to prevent and to remediate the use of child labour in their supply chain. Efforts to engage companies in constructive dialogue to combat child labour thus had some success but certainly needs to be scaled up. Overall companies and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are increasing their efforts to combat child labour and various companies have shown interest in supporting the creation of Child Labour Free Zones, in cooperation with the Stop Child Labour coalition and its partners.

While all private sector actors must comply with the universally accepted UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) framework, the specific roles and responsibilities of the private sector vary according to their role in the supply chain/production processes. Indeed supply chains and production processes might differ substantially from one sector to another, from one company to another, as well as from one region to another. Therefore, CBOs, NGOs and Trade Unions applying the CLFZ approach should on the one hand interact with each actor and stakeholder individually according to the role they (can) play, and on the other hand simultaneously encourage collective action across supply chains and production processes. Specific methods to engage different private sector actors and the types of actions that should be encouraged are presented in this guide.

>> Download Cooperating with the Private Sector in Child Labour Free Zones in India (March 2017, PDF)


Multi-stakeholder meeting on child labour in leather and footwear in Agra, India (16/17 February 2017)

On 16 - 17 February 2017, The Fair Labor Association, Stop Child Labour Coalition and iMentor are organizing a multi-stakeholder meeting titled “Strengthening Children’s Rights and Decent Work in the Agra Leather and Footwear Cluster”. The meeting is organized in close cooperation with the footwear companies Bata, Deichmann, El Corte Ingles and Astor Mueller.

Finding solutions together According to research held in Agra during 2015/2016, even though the export-oriented footwear manufacturers are making efforts to improve working conditions in their exporting facilities, in the many other production units, child labour and engagement of young workers remains a reality. This creates both poor reputation and reluctance on the part of international buyers to source from Agra. The primary objective of the multi-stakeholder meeting in February is to review possible solutions, brainstorm with practitioners and devise action plans to mitigate child labour risks and promote children’s rights and decent work in the Agra leather and footwear cluster.

Sub-objectives of the meeting are to:

  • Jointly review of research results;
  • Get exposure to active field level programs working on the resolution of child labour issues using an area-based approach;
  • Start dialogue between various stakeholders and look for opportunities to cooperate • Agreeing on next steps and short, medium, and long-term goals;
  • Formulate specific next steps over 2017/2018, including minimum performance indicators for all parties.

Participants The multi-stakeholder meeting will bring together more than 60 representatives from the leather and footwear sector including the industry represented by international buyers, suppliers and industry associations in Agra. Civil society organizations will be represented by national and international NGOs; grass roots level organizations, trade unions and multi-stakeholder initiatives. Government of India representatives (mainly from the state level departments) are expected to attend the event. Finally, supply chain practitioners and home-based workers in Agra who are well versed with the ground level realities shall join the proceedings.

>> Download the programme for the meeting “Strengthening Children’s Rights and Decent Work in the Agra Leather and Footwear Cluster”

>> Find more information on the project “Child Labour risk mitigation and action planning in the Agra leather and footwear cluster”



Annual Report 'Out of Work and into School' - year 2

In May 2014, Stop Child Labour started the ‘Out of Work and into School’ programme.  Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, within this programme we are strengthening and expanding child labour free zones, where possible and relevant with active participation of CSR initiatives and companies.

Until now, child labour free zones have been developed in 76 areas around the world and almost 10,000 children were withdrawn from child labour or prevented from dropping out of school. Apart from the direct results of the project for out-of-school and working children, we see positive effects for adults and legally working youth.

We have continued our work with CSR initiatives and companies to work in several sectors to combat child labour in their full supply chains, with specific attention to the lower tiers and area-based approach towards child labour free zones. And we have continued to engage with policy-makers and parliamentarians national, EU and international level.

We are grateful for the commitment of all stakeholders, without whom these results would not have been achieved.

Do you want to know more?

>> Download the summary of the ‘Out of Work and into School’ annual report, year 2

>> Download the full report 'Out of Work and into School', year 2


First annual report 'Out of Work and into School' project

Stop Child Labour (SCL) started the Out of Work and into School project in May 2014, as part of our broader programme to eliminate and remediate all forms of child labour linked to the right to education for all children. The project began with a kick-off meeting in Ségou, Mali, in October 2014. Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands we work on strengthening and expanding child labour free zones, where possible and relevant with the active participation of CSR initiatives and companies.

The first annual report of the Out of Work project can be downloaded here.


Kick-off new SCL programme - report available now

With its new programme 'Out of Work and into School', Stop Child Labour aims to strengthen and  expand child labour free zones (CLFZ) worldwide, where possible and  relevant with active participation of corporate social responsibility  (CSR) initiatives and companies. Participating countries and sectors are  India (natural stone, textile/garment and leather/shoes), Zimbabwe  (tea), Uganda (coffee), Mali (small holder agriculture and gold),  Nicaragua (gold) and Turkey (hazelnuts). The programme is funded by the  Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a three year project period 2014 -  2017.  > Do you want to know more?

Download the report of the kick-off meeting (english version)