Around 5.8 million children are trapped in child labour in India and an estimated 50,000 children work in hazardous conditions in Jaipur’s workshops alone. Leading charities including the Industree Foundation, The Freedom Fund and the British Asian Trust have united in showcasing the importance of creating a child labour free fashion industry during a fashion industry event.

The Good Fashion and Lifestyle event sought to show a pathway to ending child exploitation and highlight how a concerted collaboration between the fashion industry, philanthropy and governments has the potential to make significant contributions towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Attendees, including representatives from leading high street fashion brands, were able to see the success of work undertaken by the three hosts through the Child Labour Free Jaipur Initiative (CLFJ) in India.

Charity coalition aims to create a child labour free fashion industry
Photograph credit: ®Vipul Sangoi- BAT, freedom fund and Industree event

Co-Founder and Managing Trustee Neelam Chhiber, Industree Foundation said:

“Providing economic empowerment to women and connecting them with mainstream value chains gave them greater control over economic security and resources which in-turn led to significant social gains such as social security, better education, health care and nutrition for the next generation and improved resilience to life crises.

“The next step is to bring in influencers and brands in the fashion and lifestyle sectors and offer them an alternative to the supply chains that are embedded with child labour, making them champions of ethical fashion.”

The CLFJ initiative is a joint effort in urban Jaipur, set up with the goal of creating child labour free supply chains across a number of crafts such as embroidery, fashion jewellery and home textiles. Through the Initiative, the organisations are working to create market demand from conscious and ethical buyers that support supply chains without child labour.

Working with the women producers in India, Industree provides technical and life skills, skills in business management, market connection and assistance in setting up production. The aim is that through a mix of economic and social interventions, not only will women earn more, but the use of child labour in these supply chains will significantly reduce.

Since launching in 2018, the CLFJ initiative is already working with crafts such as lacquer, tie & dye, and traditional embroidery.

Charity coalition aims to create a child labour free fashion industry
Photograph credit: ®Vipul Sangoi- BAT, freedom fund and Industree event

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust said:

“The fashion industry, alongside many other industries, has an important role to play in eradicating child labour in regions and cities such as Jaipur. Working alongside our partners, business and governments, the CLFJ Initiative is already having great success in freeing children from labour, creating a sustainable environment for job creation and lifting people out of poverty and injustice.

“We have already seen the impact of the collaborative and comprehensive approach used by the CLFJ Initiative; our local partners helped child survivors to have the confidence to give testimony in court in order to achieve justice, leading to the first conviction for child labour in Jaipur – resulting in life imprisonment. This landmark ruling will set the standard for future convictions on the path to eradicating child labour.”

Charity coalition aims to create a child labour free fashion industry
Photograph credit: ®Vipul Sangoi- BAT, freedom fund and Industree event

Nick Grono, CEO, Freedom Fund said:

“Local residents and Jaipur government are stepping up their actions to free their city from child labour. Initiatives like Industree’s to empower local women producers and like GoodWeave’s certification of child labour, free supply chains give businesses practical ways to stop child labour. We’re excited to see retailers, designers and influencers in the fashion industry taking a stand for the kind of business they want to be part of.”