There are an estimated 170 million children in child labour. Amongst the countries categorised as the highest risk for child labour are China, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam – four of the top clothing manufacturing countries. Children living in poverty are vulnerable to accepting exploitative, demanding and low-paid work, such as is available in garment manufacturing. They are often contracted into unregulated factories or informally, working at home doing finishing work such as sewing sequins or buttons on clothing. Child labour is also prevalent at the very initial stages of the supply chain, with a huge number of children employed in the cotton industry. Children are desirable as their small fingers do not damage the crop.
In these workplaces, a child’s right to protection from danger, to education, and to enjoy their childhood is compromised.