Executive Briefings

Children Stitch Shoes for Global Market in India's Tourist Magnet

Children as young as eight miss school and toil in hazardous conditions to make shoes for the global market in Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal, campaigners said, calling on shoe brands to work with the local government to clean up their supply chains.

As well as a tourist attraction, Agra is a major shoe making center, producing nearly 200 million pairs of shoes annually in an industry that employs a quarter of the city’s population, according to research by the Fair Labour Association (FLA).

Children in small informal workshops and households were found to be involved in the manufacturing process, from hand and machine stitching to applying adhesive and packing shoes, the report said.

“They have no access to schools in their neighborhoods, which makes them available for work,” said Venkat Reddy of MV Foundation, a non-profit organization and member of the Stop Child Labour Coalition that commissioned the research.

“We found the children followed no fixed work hours as most of them worked at home. They don’t take breaks as they earn by each piece they make,” Reddy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “The children we met worked in groups in small, poorly ventilated rooms all day, which poses a health risk. They never played.”

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As well as a tourist attraction, Agra is a major shoe making center, producing nearly 200 million pairs of shoes annually in an industry that employs a quarter of the city’s population, according to research by the Fair Labour Association (FLA).

Children in small informal workshops and households were found to be involved in the manufacturing process, from hand and machine stitching to applying adhesive and packing shoes, the report said.

“They have no access to schools in their neighborhoods, which makes them available for work,” said Venkat Reddy of MV Foundation, a non-profit organization and member of the Stop Child Labour Coalition that commissioned the research.

“We found the children followed no fixed work hours as most of them worked at home. They don’t take breaks as they earn by each piece they make,” Reddy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “The children we met worked in groups in small, poorly ventilated rooms all day, which poses a health risk. They never played.”

Read Full Article