Have products been made with clean hands? The Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Act is a step in the right direction

Across the world approximately 152 million children are forced to work. Child labour is mainly prevalent in the retail and tobacco industries and in tin mines.

Companies generally have little insight into the entire supply chain of their products because of the use of subcontractors. The policy of the Dutch government used to consist of encouraging companies to voluntarily solve issues in their supply chain. As this approach proved to be not effective enough, it was decided to create binding legislation.

On 14 May 2019, the Senate passed the Child Labour Due Diligence Act (“the Act”), which will force companies that sell goods and services to Dutch end users to examine whether there is a reasonable suspicion that goods or services were produced using child labour. The Act will enter into force at a date yet to be determined. The initiator of the Act, A.H. Kuiken (Dutch Labour Party PVDA), expects this to be sometime in early 2022.   

In the run-up to the Act, companies are encouraged to draw up an action plan to limit risks and make their business operations “child labour-proof”.

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