Two million seasonal migrant workers in Turkey leave their home communities and move around the country with their families for eight to nine months a year to harvest crops such as hazelnuts, citrus fruits and cabbage. The children of the migrant families are often left alone during the day or have to work in the fields; school attendance is rarely possible. To address this issue Lidl, a German international discount retailer chain, has begun to strengthen children’s rights in the hazelnut supply chain. Together with Save the Children and its subsidiary, The Centre for Child Rights and Business, Lidl has set up a pilot project to enforce children’s rights “beyond compliance” in the hazelnut supply chain. The project is committed to strengthening child rights based on three pillars:
- Concrete guidelines on how to prevent and remediate child labour are established and all tiers of the supply chain are subsequently trained on these guidelines.
- Educational opportunities are provided and clustered according to the age of the children (including early childhood support for young children, learning opportunities for school-aged children as well as mentoring on access to decent work for 15–17-year-olds).
- A change in awareness is sought, with the aim of overcoming social and cultural causes of child labour (i.e. training on child rights, equality and negative consequences of child labour, identification of structural risk drivers of child labour, etc.).
The aim of the project is on the one hand to prevent child labour in the hazelnut supply chain and on the other hand to give children and youths the opportunity to learn, to attend school or to work in an age-appropriate and safe way. Based on the experiences and findings, a model for effective measures is established that is transferable to other agricultural supply chains. With the help of the direct supplier, stakeholders are empowered to manifest measures that prevent and remediate child labour and protect children’s rights in supply chains.