Netherlands Takes Big Step Toward Tackling Child Labor

New Bill Holds Companies Accountable for Every Step of the Supply Chain

People are becoming more and more aware that the things they buy – like clothes, mobile phones, or even vegetables – could be the product of child labor. Consumers in the Netherlands may soon be able to buy goods with new-found confidence, thanks to a law that tackles child labor in companies’ supply chains.

On May 14, the Dutch Senate adopted the “Child Labor Due Diligence” law that obliges companies to find out whether their goods have been produced using child labor and come up with a plan to prevent child labor in its supply chain if they find it. Businesses also have to submit a statement describing their due diligence efforts to the government.

A supply chain is composed of the steps taken before a completed product reaches the shelves – from gathering raw materials through manufacturing to retail. Human Rights Watch has documented how children do backbreaking and hazardous work at many stages of this process, including in gold mines, tobacco fields, and garment factories, all of which supply the global market.

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