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I think about a teenage boy named Bounmy, who left his village in Laos to find work in neighbouring Thailand. He signed on to work on a fishing boat, with the assurance that he would be paid for all of his work once the boat returned to shore. He was tricked.
As Canadian consumers, we have the power to help change the plot for the world's children. It lies in the decisions we make about our purchases. Do we contribute to keeping children trapped and enslaved, or do we make the decisions that help set them free? On the World Day Against Child Labour, we must all consider our roles in the story.
I felt sick to my stomach standing at a brick factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. These kids have traded in their childhoods, working seven-day weeks so they can continue to stay alive. Just a stone's throw away was a new luxury housing development. Were these bricks used to build it?
Many moms are wakened on Mother's Day by an ominous clattering in the kitchen: your loving-hearted children preparing to surprise you with coffee or hot chocolate in bed. There's also that cinnamon toast or oatmeal positively doused with sugar. What many moms don't realize is that such meals usually come courtesy of a whole crew of children.
One year ago on April 24, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, crushing the life out of more than 1,100 people. The disaster prompted huge outcry on the streets of Bangladesh, and around the world. As a society of shoppers, we did demand the rock-bottom prices that helped create the demand for cheaper and cheaper labour. I've never felt more culpable than when standing in the ruins of Rana Plaza last week.
Starting today, children will be able to appeal directly to the United Nations when their rights are overlooked, neglected or violated. And the movement to hand this power to the world's children was started by a Canadian with an iron will and a huge heart.
There is a saying out there that goes, "Everything happens for a reason." There are some things in life that this statement can apply to, but sometimes things that happen that seem senseless. April 2...
World Vision Canada
Isn't it our responsibility to try to help, to protect youth, to afford them some level of hope so that they may have opportunity for health and happiness in their lives? After all, a child is a child no matter where you go and they are all precious. No child should ever be for sale.
Amani may know nothing about the trillions of dollars' worth of minerals hiding beneath the ground of her country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). But she may reap the benefits of her country's mineral wealth in the future, thanks to a new Canadian G8 commitment announced by Harper in London last week.
Imagine the four walls around you are basically walls of blue tarp held up by tree branches. Your floor is a slab of cement if you're lucky, or a dirt floor where rats and bugs greet you at every corner as they scavenge through heaps of litter, scrap, and human waste. This is the reality of a Delhi slum.
Hundreds of thousands of children have been sold or kidnapped and work as virtual slaves in India. Canada must insist that, as part of any free trade deal reached with India, no goods made by trafficked children will be allowed to enter Canada. It is the right thing to do.
While trafficking may feel far away, understanding our connections helps to bring the issue home. As we start our Christmas shopping, let's not forget who is on the production end of our gift purchases. Is it possible that box of chocolates was produced by children swinging machetes in cocoa plantations?
Before a room of big names like former UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, Walmart's CEO Michael Duke, Carlos Slim, the second richest man in the world, and celebrities like Matt Damon, K'naan, and Barbra Streisand, Obama reminded his nation and the world that slavery is still very much with us. Obama called the fight against human trafficking "one of the great human rights causes of our time."
Hollywood has immortalized underage soldiers in countless films. Contemporary warfare is still fuelled by "the brave young men and women overseas." Tragically, children in war zones are neither romantic nor relegated to the past. We should confront the hard truth: some recruits have no choice.
Sadly, child worker rights in Canada don't enter the public consciousness until a teenager is run over by a tractor or suffocated under a pile of tar -- no one is designated to proactively manage their best interests.
Tyler Kingkade/The Huffington Post
Last year, I released a proposal for a national action plan to combat human trafficking called 'Connecting the Dots.' The complex nature of trafficking in persons and the rapidly increasing occurrence of human trafficking demands a comprehensive approach that draws together existing frameworks, stakeholders, and agencies.
It's clear we need to rethink business as usual, but it should start with how business leaders are trained to view their roles, analyze risks, and understand the moral implications of strategic decisions.