World Vision campaign against child labour has great motives but may have a downside

This week World Vision Canada released an infographic identifying the parts of the world and the product categories where child labour is rampant. World Vision’s “No Child for Sale” effort is laudable but GallonDaily can’t help but wonder whether tarring such a broad range of categories and products might not have unintended consequences if consumers decide to boycott the complete World Vision list:

  • Argentina
    • berries
    • onions/shallots/garlic/leeks
  • Bangladesh
    • apparel
    • footwear
    • shrimp
    • agriculture
  • Brazil
    • coffee
    • sugar
  • Cambodia
    • apparel
  • China
    • apparel
    • toys/games
    • telephones
    • sporting goods
  • Costa Rica
    • bananas
    • melons
    • pumpkins/squash
  • Dominican Republic
    • vegetables
  • Ecuador
    • bananas
    • shrimp
  • El Salvador
    • sugar
  • Guatemala
    • vegetables
    • coffee
    • sugar
  • Honduras
    • melons
  • India
    • apparel
    • footwear
    • rice
    • beans/legumes
    • onions/shallots/garlic/leeks
    • tea
    • spices
  • Indonesia
    • footwear
    • shrimp
    • fish
    • coffee
    • spices
  • Kenya
    • tea
  • Mexico
    • vegetables
    • fruits
    • coffee
    • sugar
  • Nicaragua
    • bananas
  • Pakistan
    • rice
  • Peru
    • vegetables
    • coffee
  • Philippines
    • fish
  • South Africa
    • fruits
  • Sri Lanka
    • tea
    • rice
  • Thailand
    • apparel
    • shrimp
  • Turkey
    • fruits
  • Vietnam
    • apparel

GallonDaily understands that World Vision is seeking to encourage people to sign its petition to ask the Canadian Government to work with Canadian companies to help consumers access information about what companies are doing to identify, address and prevent child labour in their supply chains. We support that goal but cannot help but worry that well-meaning Canadians may well choose to boycott the listed products without realizing that many of the listed products from these countries are produced without the involvement of child labour and perhaps even in reasonably sustainable ways that help support and develop the economic well-being of the population of these developing countries. Broad brush strokes are not always the best approach to complex challenges like that of child labour. However, if the business response to the World Vision campaign is to quickly implement programs of certification of products as being free from child labour, maybe everyone’s objective will have been achieved.

The World Vision infographic is available at http://nochildforsale.ca/resource/infographic-mapping-global-imports-to-canada/globalmap_final-combined1-2/ and the full campaign can be viewed starting at http://nochildforsale.ca/

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