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4 Jun 2019

Juliane Kippenberg, Human Rights Watch

Netherlands Takes Big Step Toward Tackling Child Labor

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On May 14, the Dutch Senate adopted the "Child Labor Due Diligence" law that obliges companies to find out whether their goods have been produced using child labor and come up with a plan to prevent child labor in its supply chain if they find it. Businesses also have to submit a statement describing their due diligence efforts...

A supply chain is composed of the steps taken before a completed product reaches the shelves... Human Rights Watch has documented how children do backbreaking and hazardous work at many stages of this process, including in gold minestobacco fields, and garment factories, all of which supply the global market...

This bill sends an important political signal, even though it is envisaged to enter into force only in 2022, and details need to be worked out through administrative orders.

The Netherlands is not the first country to take steps toward tackling child labor... France is requiring large companies to conduct due diligence for human rights generally, while the United Kingdom and Australia have introduced legislation on modern slavery in global supply chains.

It is encouraging to see that lawmakers in the Netherlands have joined this trend... Companies need to be held accountable for human rights conditions in their supply chains.