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Child Labor

All our members are trained on and follow the Agricultural Labour Practices Code of the tobacco sector, a set of seven principles, each with several measurable standards, which is based on the labor standards of the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and other relevant ILO conventions.

  • There shall be no child labour.
  • There shall be no forced labour. All farm labour must be voluntary.
  • Income earned during a pay period or growing season shall always be enough to meet workers’ basic needs and shall be of a sufficient level to enable the generation of discretionary income. Workers shall not work excessive or illegal work hours.
  • Farmers shall ensure fair treatment of workers. There shall be no harassment, discrimination, physical or mental punishment, or any other forms of abuse.
  • Farmers shall provide a safe work environment to prevent accidents and injury and to minimize health risks. Accommodation, where provided, shall be clean, safe and meet the basic needs of the workers.
  • Farmers shall recognize and respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.
  • Farmers shall comply with all laws of their country relating to employment.

Labour abuses often have underlying causes that this code on its own cannot address. Long-term solutions to address them need deep and continuous commitment by several actors, farmers, tobacco companies, governments, trade unions and NGOs and ITGA is strongly engaged to work together with the others.

It is for this reason that in 2000 ITGA started talking with the international tobacco trade unions, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) to address the concerning presence of child labour in tobacco farming.

The result of this discussions was that in October 2001 ITGA and IUF set up a foundation together with the then only vertically integrated tobacco company, British American Tobacco, to eliminate child labour in tobacco production. The Elimination of Child Labour in Tobacco (ECLT) Foundation was immediately joined by the most important international tobacco companies: in its first 18 years ECLT has invested approximately 85 million US$ in projects across ten countries and is becoming a highly recognized leader in the elimination of child labour in agriculture.

The US Department of Labor reckons that approximately 140 crops are grown across over 70 countries with the use of child labour. The Foundation realizes that to eradicate child labour several sectors need to work together so that a child simply does not go away from a field to work in another.