TORONTO – From grape tomatoes at the grocery store to the running shoes on your feet, most Canadians don’t realize how many of the products they buy involve child labour, says a new report from World Vision.
A poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the charitable organization found 82 per cent of 1,007 Canadians surveyed admitted they don’t know if what they are buying is contributing to the exploitation of children in other countries. Another 60 per cent said they would stop buying a product and would switch brands if they found out it was made by children.
World Vision released lists of products and their countries of origin as part of the charity’s “No Child For Sale” campaign to help put the spotlight on child labour. Billions of dollars worth of goods are imported to Canada every year from countries where child labour is employed. The report gave examples such as coffee from Guatemala, running shoes and clothing from Bangladesh, and shrimp from Thailand and Vietnam.
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The group says the report is designed to push Canadians to ask more questions about where their food and clothing comes from and to demand more information from big brands and corporations about their manufacturing supply chains.
“Whether we’re shopping for strawberries in March or for the cheapest and hottest jeans, it’s tragic how few of us realize how much stuff we buy that is made by children working in horrific conditions. But it’s also not surprising since we have so little information from Canadian companies about their supply chains,” said Cheryl Hotchkiss, manager of World Vision’s No Child for Sale campaign, in a statement.
“Canadians do care – the majority of us are willing to change our shopping behaviour if we have the right information to make the right choices,” said Hotchkiss.
The International Labour Organization defines child labour as work that is mentally or physically harmful to children and interferes or completely deprives a child from attending school. The organization says 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 participate in child labour worldwide.
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