Skip to main content

australian ncjw campaigns to end child slavery

The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic) is an active member of the Stop The Traffik campaign in Australia and has been campaigning against the use of forced child labour around the world.
 
The Stop The Traffik coalition sent letters to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in advance of the meeting of the 70th Plenary Meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee in Argentina in September 2011. They asked the Australian Government delegation to raise with Uzbekistan Government the issue of the use of forced child labour to harvest cotton.
 
Uzbekistan is the world’s sixth largest producer of cotton, and the third largest exporter. For decades it has used forced labour of schoolchildren, college and university students to harvest cotton by hand. Each year over one million children as young as nine-years-old are sent out to work in the fields. This practice is organised and controlled by the central government. That is why Stop the Traffik is urging the Australian government to work with other countries to seek to end the use of forced child labour in the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan.
 
The Stop The Traffik coalition has also petitioned the Australian confectionary company Darrell Lea to commit to using only cocoa that is certified as free of trafficked and slave labour. 70% of the world’s production of cocoa comes from West Africa, and the majority of chocolate consumed worldwide is likely to contain cocoa produced by children in slave-like conditions or who have been trafficked in West Africa. The US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor”, and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement. The NCJWA and its coalition partners in Australia are therefore asking all chocolate companies to ensure  they do not source cocoa from West Africa that has involved slavery or trafficked labour in its production. Cadbury, Nestle and Mars have all started to use cocoa certified to be free of trafficking in some of their lines (Dairy Milk chocolate, Kit-Kats, Mars bars),
 
Susan Feldman, Chair of NCJWA Status of Women, believes that NCJWA's active support of the Stop the Traffik campaigns over the past two years is significant and may be helping to change things in Australia and around the world.