Fair Trade farmers confront child labour
In 2015, a report revealed that Belize did too little to eradicate child labour, included its worst forms, even though the country had signed the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
However, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) had already taken action to withdraw children from unacceptable work, jointly with Fairtrade International, FLOCERT, the independent certification body of Fairtrade International, and CLAC, the organisation representing the Fairtrade certified farmers from Latin and Central America. Indeed, BSCFA had funded a programme to prevent child labour in the Belizean sugar cane industry, following the suspension of its Fairtrade certification in 2014 after two auditors found evidence of child labour during school hours on two sugar cane farms.
An important step forward was taken this February by the Belizean government, with the establishment of three bodies dealing with child labour. This measure has been welcomed by BSCFA and by Fairtrade International, which encouraged the European Union, in its joint project partnership with the government of Belize, to implement the Youth Inclusive Community Based Monitoring and Remediation System (YICBMRS).