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  • Writer's pictureIBVM Canada

Who made my clothes?

Action Pledge to End Child Labour

Did you know that roughly 160 million children were subjected to child labour at the beginning of 2020, with 9 million additional children at risk due to the impact of COVID-19?

Many children make clothes

Children work at all stages of the supply chain in the fashion industry: from the production of cotton seeds in Benin, harvesting in Uzbekistan, yarn spinning in India, right through to the different phase of putting garments together in factories across Bangladesh. And many of these children are forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day.

Impact of fast fashion

Fast fashion effects our planet massively, with the amount of waste produced each year. Did you know that more than 500 million kilos of unwanted clothing end up in landfills every year. Every minute, half a tonne of clothes is dumped into landfill in Ireland. This amounts to 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions - this is equivalent to driving 65,000 km in a car.

Buying second-hand or upcycling clothes helps keep our landfills clear and our planet healthy.

What we can do

  • Buy good quality clothes that last

  • Re-wear (don't just wear once and throw away)

  • Care for our clothes

  • Repair and mend

  • Share and swap our clothes

  • Organize a fashion show using items from a charity

2021 is the United Nations designated Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. Any work that deprives children of their childhood is defined as child labour. A child who is forced to work instead of play loses her easy laughter and her chance to learn in curious and creative ways. But for some children and families, they have to work because their survival depends on it.
There are currently 40 million people in modern slavery and 160 million children in child labour. Sadly, child labour has increased from 152 million, the first time in two decades according to the joint Report released by UNICEF and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in June 2021. Furthermore, there are now 79 million children aged 5 to 17 years in hazardous work. More than one in four children in the world’s poorest countries are engaged in work that is potentially harmful to their health.
In line with our commitment to the elimination of human trafficking and the care of women and children, we joined the global alliance and pledged to act to Eliminate to Child Labour by raising awareness and inspiring local actions among our global network of over 50,000 students, staff and members. And members of our Mary Ward network are already supporting and advocating for children working in the brickfields, in hidden domestic labour situations and other agricultural contexts.
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