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Open letter to G7 leaders: Your commitments to eliminate child labor & forced labor


Open letter to G7 leaders: Your commitments to eliminate child labor & forced labor
Open letter to G7 leaders: Your commitments to eliminate child labor & forced labor

Dear G7 Leaders,


I am a journalist and human rights activist who has been investigating misery, child labor and

forced labor in the supply chains of corporations and developed nations for more than 10 years. In the G7 Summits at Elmau, Germany and Hiroshima, Japan, you committed to the elimination of child labor and forced labor in supply chains. In 2015 you committed at the UN to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Target 8.7 of the SDGs - Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.


The reality of child labor and forced labor today is that, due to the greed of corporations with business models that are the opposite of the SDGs and to governments turning a blind eye to the rule of law, there are tens of millions of children exploited in the supply chains of the G7 nations, and forced labor has increased in the last decade. There are also millions of children working inside the borders of G7 nations and of the European Union.


In recent years, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, the European Union and several States in the United States have promoted or adopted laws and directives that protect the exploiters not the exploited. I refer to the UK Modern Slavery Act, the German Supply Chain Law (Lieferkettenge-setz), the Canadian Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains and the EU’s CSDDD (Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive).


In the United States, there has been a political movement to weaken child labor laws in States across the country since 2022, with the purpose of allowing employers to use cheap child labor. All of these are corporate rights laws that allow corporations to continue profiting from child labor and forced labor, contrary to the State obligations of all G7 nations and the European Union to protect and fulfill human rights in their countries and abroad.


Of all G7 countries, only the United States publishes a periodical report with an official List of

Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Politicians in all other G7 nations and across the European Union have refused to adopt a law or a directive to create a similar report of goods produced by child labor or forced labor that would serve as a guide for customs officials and all other authorities. I demand that all G7 governments and the European Union cooperate to create a global list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor. Today, not even the EU member States and the European Commission cooperate in such an important task to deliver on their obligation to eliminate child labor and forced labor.


Child labor and modern slavery have increased in all G7 nations. In recent years only the Italian government presided over by Giorgia Meloni has admitted how many children work in a G7 country: Child labor alarm in Italy, over 300 thousand exploited between the ages of 7 and 15. Admitting a problem and making a study about its true dimension are extremely important first steps to addressing any serious problem of this magnitude. Nearly one million children work in the United States today and close to two million children work in the European Union and politicians and governments have refused to conduct serious studies of the dimension of child labor in their countries. This once again protects the exploiters.


In all G7 nations there are corporations, and uber wealthy families, that profit from the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of non-white child workers to reduce costs and increase profits. They seem to exploit these poor and defenseless children with the complicit support of the G7 goverments and of the European Union, most even benefit directly or indirectly via NGOs from so-called “development aid” instead of being prosecuted for their criminal activities.


Another example of the sad state of child labor in the world is the fact that 53 years after the World Economic Forum was created supposedly to “Improve the State of the World” there are tens of millions of girls and boys working in the supply chains of only 2,500 WEF participants, while top political leaders and hundreds of journalists attending Davos look the other way.


I ask all G7 and EU leaders to take concrete steps to eliminate child labor and forced labor using all legal means currently available. We cannot continue living in a world where human rights and children’s rights are less important than the rights of corporations to exploit the poor.


Sincerely,


Fernando Morales-de la Cruz



Ms. Giorgia Meloni, Italian Prime Minister and President of the G7 Group

Mr. Joe Biden, President of the United States

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan

Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of France

Mr. Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany

Mr. Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Mr. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Mr. Charles Michel, President of the Council of the European Union

Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission




Fernando Morales-de la Cruz in front of the Palazzo Chigi on the 17th of May of 2024. Photo by Stefano Carofei
Fernando Morales-de la Cruz in front of the Palazzo Chigi on the 17th of May of 2024. Photo by Stefano Carofei

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