Fair Trade Principle 7: Ensure the Rights of Children

Artisan Group Visit {The Little Market}Photo by The Little Market

The seventh fair trade principle outlined by the Fair Trade Federation is to ensure the rights of children. Often, families living in precarious economic conditions are forced to rely on their children’s labor to help support the family. This pattern is further complicated by gender disparities. Girls are more likely than boys to join the workforce at the expense of their elementary education. Further, girls often work as domestic servants and are relied upon for unpaid household work, which makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as well as to verbal and physical abuse.

UNICEF reports that an estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labor. Close to 70 percent of this population works in hazardous conditions such as mines with exposure to high toxicity chemicals or factories with dangerous machinery. Many children, particularly in the Global South, work in physically demanding industries such as agriculture and domestic work.

Travels to Artisan Groups {The Little Market}Photo by The Little Market

Under the fair trade framework, the rights of children ought to be protected without compromise. Under this model of trade, children have the right to security, education, and play. At The Little Market, we respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, while remaining sensitive to the social norms of the artisans’ communities. In our vetting process of artisan groups, we thoroughly and thoughtfully inquire about the involvement of children in the production process. We do not partner with artisan groups that employ children. We do recognize that intragenerational learning of traditional techniques are often transmitted from parents to children. As fair trade practitioners and supporters, we support children learning traditional skills from their parents in ways that do not interfere with their education, safety, or emotional well-being.

Visiting Artisan Groups {The Little Market}Photo by The Little Market

We are proud of the fact that all of the artisans groups we work with share in our commitment to ensuring the rights of children.

UNICEF Fact Sheet

You may also be interested in:
Fair Trade Principle 6: Support Safe & Empowering Work Conditions
Fair Trade Principle 5: Pay Fairly & Promptly




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