Child Labour Free lands in the UK with a bang, working with acclaimed London street artists to create a bold installation that will highlight the tough issue of child labour. The street art, which aims to engage and motivate Londoners to say no to #allworknoplay will be visible on Great Eastern Road, Shoreditch from 7 to 19 June 2016.
“Whether you’re a vintage clothes addict, buy only organic vegetables, are devoted to environmentally friendly cleaning products, or none of the above, you need to be questioning if child labour was used in the supply chains of the products you consume,” says Child Labour Free CEO, Nik Webb-Shephard.
UNICEF estimates that 150 million children are trapped in child labour, at least half of which is in hazardous or harmful conditions. In the least developed countries, 25% of children (five to 14-year-olds) are engaged in labour that is considered detrimental to their health and development. Over 90 million children are engaged in agricultural labour, whilst approximately 20 million work in industrial production. The products most likely to have been made include tobacco, beef, diamonds, cotton, carpets, fashion, coffee, cocoa, and sugar.
Working with the fair-trade and organic t-shirt businesses like Freeset based in Kolkata, India, Child Labour Free has created an early learning centre providing employment to women otherwise trapped in the sex trade of Kolkata's infamous Sonagacchi district.
Founders, Nikki Prendergast, and Michelle Pratt are using their extensive experience in the field of early childhood to create a safe haven for the children of sex workers in Kolkata. The early learning centre will also give hundreds of children access to free education and therefore reduce their risk of exposure to child labour longer term.
With an aim to bring the horror, but also the hope, of children trapped in child labour to the streets of London, Child Labour Free have selected artists Victoria Villasana and Zabou to create the street art installation.
Artist Victoria was chosen for her sensitivity to the child labour topic, which is a significant problem in her home country, Mexico.
“There are about 100,000 kids under 14 working in Mexico because their parents don’t earn enough to support their families. What I like about Child Labour Free is that they work closely with the families to help them get out of poverty, rather than just stopping retailers from buying from these suppliers. This will help children enjoy better lives that are full of play, rather than just work.”
The installation will begin in Shoreditch from 7th-9th June and is free to view. You can also follow updates on twitter.