Glossary

If you feel that the world of Fair Trade has its very own language – do not worry! With this glossary we would like to guide you through the specific technical terms used by FLOCERT, Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).

Child labour

Fairtrade defines child labour as all work performed by children under the age of 18.

Fairtrade differentiates between the employment of children below the age of 15 by the producer and members of producer organizations, and children helping out on family farms. Children sometimes carry out small tasks which could be beneficial to their development, such as learning a skill, having a responsibility, and/or contributing to their or their families’ well-being or income. However, if children are helping out on family farms, Fairtrade requires that they do so only if they work after school or during holidays, the work they do is appropriate for their age, they do not work long hours and/or under dangerous or exploitative conditions, and are supervised and guided by an adult family member. In Fairtrade no child below the age of 18 can undertake any type of work which, by its nature or the circumstances under which it is carried out, is likely to jeopardize their health, safety or morals, and their school attendance. Examples of child work considered to be unacceptable are work that involves slave-like practices; recruitment into armed conflict; sex work and/or illicit activities. Examples of activities that are potentially damaging to a child include work in an unhealthy environment; excessive working hours resulting in tiredness or lack of sleep; work that involves handling or any exposure to toxic chemicals; work at dangerous heights; operation of dangerous equipment; and work that involves abusive punishment.
Fairtrade standards on child labour are based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 concerning the worst forms of child labour and ILO Convention 138 concerning minimum working age.

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