Child Labor Free comes to the UK
With bold Shoreditch street art statement coinciding with World Day Against Child Labour on Sunday 12 June. To mark its arrival in the UK, Child Labor Free is working with acclaimed London street artists to create a bold installation that will highlight the tough issue of child labor. The street art, which aims to engage and motivate Londoners to say no to #allworknoplay will be visible on Great Eastern Street, 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 labor was used in the supply chains of the products you consume,” says Child Labor Free CEO, Nik Webb-Shephard. “There has never been a better time to have this front of mind than World Day Against Child Labour on Sunday 12 June. If you’re in Shoreditch come and be moved by our street art installation, or wear our charity t-shirt to help us say no to #allworknoplay for the 150 million children trapped in child labor today,” Nik continues.
Join the Movement Today
That Child Labor Free is launching in the UK in 2016 is significant because this is the year the International Labour Organization set as the target for eradicating the worst forms of child labor. Despite significant efforts from governments, NGO’s and organisations including Child Labor Free, this huge goal has not yet been reached. Child Labor Free is passionate that stakeholders need to work together alongside brands and consumers to do more to ensure that they are not supporting the practice. Providing the tools for brands and consumers to do this is central to its proposition.
Limited edition graffiti art t-shirts (RRP £20.00) made by fair-trade and organic t-shirt business Freeset are available to buy at www.childlaborfree.com Proceeds will fund the development of a Child Labor Free Foundation early learning centre in Kolkata, India.
Not only is the Freeset factory on the journey to becoming Child Labor Free certified, it is also a social enterprise providing employment to women otherwise trapped in the sex trade of Kolkhata’s infamous Sonagacchi district. Child Labor Free 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 labor longer term. www.freesetglobal.com.
The Child Labor Free Story
Founded by two education entrepreneurs with the vision of creating a world free from child labor, Child Labor Free started life in New Zealand on World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June 2015. A year on, and the social enterprise has certified eight local brands and announced a further 10 as being on the journey towards becoming Child Labor Free. Now it is coming to Europe, with London the first stop.
Co-Founder and Director, Nikki Prendergast explains Child Labor Free’s three pronged approach: “We offer brands, retailers and companies in supply chains – from field to factory – a tiered certification system, the Child Labor Free Mark. We give back to children, families and communities affected by child labor through the Child Labor Free Foundation. And we believe that a wider consumer led movement based on honesty, transparency and ethics is what will drive global change.”
The Street Artists
Child Labor Free selected Victoria Villasana and Zabou to bring the horror, but also the hope, of children trapped in child labor to life on the streets of London for its UK launch. Zabou will create two child portraits using a mixture of stencil and freehand techniques, sharp lines and soft shades, which will be accented by Victoria’s colourful thread embroidery.
Mexican born Victoria was chosen for her sensitivity to the child labor topic, which is a significant problem in her home country, whilst it was Zabou’s reputation for playing on stereotypes which caught Child Labor Free’s attention. Victoria comments on the collaboration: “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 Labor 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.”
Zabou says of working with Victoria: “It’s exciting to collaborate with Victoria again on this thought-provoking project. I hope our mural will help raise awareness about ending child labour, it’s a great cause.”
Follow Child Labor Free on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and say no to #allworknoplay to change the story of children everywhere. Visit www.childlaborfree.com to find out more, and get in touch with Child Labor Free directly if you are interested in learning about the international amplification events taking place around 12 June for World Day Against Child Labour in New Zealand and Germany.