Brussels, 11 June 2015 – In the Thai shrimp industry children are severely exploited. Six days a week, ten hours a day. They shell shrimps that end up on the plates of European consumers. Most of the children come from Myanmar, from where they migrate through smugglers. As irregular migrants their rights are being violated, they are exposed to the whims of their employers. They cannot defend themselves when their wages are reduced, when they are forced to work on night shifts or when they are imposed extra hours in periods of high demand.
On the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour Terre des Hommes calls on the European Union, EU institutions, EU Member States and all European governments, as important trading partners of Thailand, to engage their influence with the Thai government and claim a set of verifiable actions to protect the rights of migrant children. Similarly, the international shrimp traders are called upon to ensure the compliance with minimum social standards throughout the shrimp industry.
“I want to become a doctor. But, it won’t happen because I will soon have to work”, we should no longer hear such testimonies of children aged 11 years old who works in the shrimp industry, Ignacio Packer, Secretary General of Terre des Hommes, says. Give these children a chance to change their world.”
The shrimp trade is yet another example for the race of the globalized economy in search of cheaper production at the lowest possible labour costs regardless to the social and environmental consequences.
At present, the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is debated in European Member States – we expect all European governments to pass and implement laws that hold companies accountable regarding the respect of human rights.
Credits : © Iris Stolz – Terre des Hommes Germany
“Gaining the support of individual governments and civil society is crucial in the fight against child labor. Together, we have a collective responsibility to call attention to the fact that social protection has to be recognized as a right, one that is central if we want to end child labour.” Ignacio Packer urges. “Children around the world, as in the shrimp industry, should not be forced to give up their childhoods to work.”
Iris Stolz, Child Rights Expert, Terre des Hommes Germany, Mobile: +49 5 41 / 71 01-132, email@example.com
Eylah Kadjar-Hamouda, Head of International Secretariat, Terre de Hommes International Federation
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