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1 in 10 girls, boys, and adolescents in the world work, and close to half of them do dangerous work that could cause them physical and emotional harm. Progress in eliminating child labor has receded in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A fundamental part of our work in Mexico are the actions aimed at preventing and eradicating child labour in various economic areas such as as agriculture, mining, clothing; in the processing industry and in services as well.

For more than 15 years in Mexico, we have developed innovative initiatives to guarantee human rights, which have allowed us to work with leading companies, global brands and their supply chains, reaching their managers and of course workers of these companies.

We know that the world has advanced in human rights, and Mexico has not been the exception in this global trend focusing on people. This is due in part to all national legal processes Mexico has been harmonising to match international regulations and standards.

Since 2015, Mexico has established unprecedented changes in working life, particularly on child labour, which, while some of it is linked to the informal economy, a substantial part is tied to supply chains. Official information on child labour indicates that, in Mexico, 1.4 million children and adolescents work in formal enterprises or supply chains. Most of them in agriculture, services and commerce.

Today, the global economy, sustainability guidelines, public scrutiny and consumers demand that companies go beyond their purpose and establish indisputable policies oriented towards compliance with human rights principles, materialised in tangible actions, which guide the management of the business and relationships with stakeholders.

The trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada has captured the interest of companies on labour rights; compliance with these rights cannot be postponed.

Against this backdrop, it is essential that companies ensure, respect and fulfil child and human rights in the workplace as part of their sustainability strategy.

Today, companies recognise the need for professional help and specialised services to assess their risks, design strategies and implement actions to ensure compliance with human rights in the workplace, especially those related to child labour, forced labour and safe working conditions, in a sustainable and effective manner.

In 2019 we set out to create a specific area to provide these services to companies in Mexico and Latin America, we identified the experience of Save the Children Sweden that created THE CENTRE in Hong Kong, a child rights organisation oriented to the business sector; and thus, the first steps were taken to give life to this new organisation that adds the experience in Asia, plus our own experience of working in Mexico with the business sector.

Until now, in Mexico and Latin America there has been no organisation with an integral vision capable of understanding and interpreting the local and global environment, and of generating solutions adapted to the needs of companies that also contribute economic and social value.

That is why today we present to you EL CENTRO de derechos de la niñez y empresas [Centre for Child Rights and Business] , which will accompany the private sector to respond effectively to the demands of the current context, with the design and implementation of specific solutions that will ensure solid, ethical and sustainable operations and supply chains.

El CENTRO de derechos de la niñez y empresas aims to improve the capacity of companies in Mexico and Latin America to prevent and eradicate child labour, and to ensure compliance with labour rights in their operations and supply chain.

We know the challenges companies face today, we can respond in a timely manner, we have experience and expertise on how to work with companies to address child labour and labour rights issues, from prevention to remediation. Our value promise to companies interested in the services offered by EL CENTRO is that they will ensure compliance with their legal and commercial responsibilities related to child labour and other human rights in the workplace, and properly manage their risks; have a more committed and stable workforce; and secure their corporate reputation.

Why should companies care about children's rights?

Children and youth are affected in one way or another by business activities, as:

Consumers of products and services

Young workers

Children in Child Labour

Workers´ children

Users of digital platforms

Inhabitants of the areas where the companies are located

The business world is making progress towards protecting the rights of children and youth, but there is still a long way to go.

Benefits for companies

A solid program for the Eradication of Child Labor and the Promotion of Access to Decent Work for Youth generates multiple benefits, among which the following stand out:
  • Have access to financing.
  • Build a stronger corporate brand.
  • Minimize social risks in its operations.
  • Comply with ESG and Social Responsibility criteria.
  • Strengthen your supply chain.
  • Align your processes to international requirements.

Risks and trends

The latest global estimates indicate that the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide, an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years.

63 million girls and 97 million boys were in child labour globally at the beginning of 2020, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide.
  • 8.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 work in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The majority of these children are adolescent 67% boys, and 33% girls.
  • Child labour is present in both rural and urban areas, and 48.7% is found in agriculture.
  • More than 50% of children do hazardous work.