Amid growing pressure on retailers to improve safety conditions at
factories in developing countries, a just-released survey finds that
three in four Americans would be disinclined to purchase particular
clothing brands were they to find out that the clothes were made using
child labor.

The national poll of more than 1,000 randomly selected adults,
commissioned by ChildFund International and conducted by Ipsos Public
Affairs, found that 77 percent of those surveyed said they would be
unlikely to purchase clothing made through child labor.

When asked if they would be willing to pay more for clothing made
without child labor, just over half (55%) indicated that they would.
Among those indicating a willingness to pay more, the average person
said they would be willing to spend one-third (34%) more.

“This spring’s collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh has focused
the world’s attention on the often-hazardous working conditions that
many workers in developing countries confront every day, and while it
appears that the more than 1,000 victims of that tragedy were adults,
the fact is these factories regularly employ children as young as 10
years old,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund
International, an international child development organization serving
children and their families in 30 countries.

“These survey findings provide telling insight into Americans’ attitudes
about child labor and should help companies understand that they need
not make economic choices over moral ones,” Goddard adds. “I believe
that American consumers will become increasingly educated about the
source of the products they purchase and begin making more knowledgeable
and ethically driven buying decisions.”

As of now, however, the survey indicates a significant underappreciation
among Americans for the extent of child labor within developing
countries. UNICEF estimates that about 150 million children between the
ages of 5 and 14 are being used as child laborers, often in exploitative
and dangerous situations. When asked to approximate this figure, only 1
percent of those surveyed estimated that there were at least that many,
with three in four (73%) assuming the worldwide number to be under 1
million children.

Goddard emphasizes that not all child labor is exploitative or
necessarily harmful to children, noting that many children within
developing countries work on their families’ subsistence farms or are
engaged in other labor to supplement the families’ income.

“The dual nature of our concern,” she notes, “is when a child is
compelled to work in unsafe conditions or when any work a child is
engaged in serves to interrupt his or her education. These survey
results indicate that, while Americans don’t have a full appreciation
for the extent of the problem, they do have an intrinsic understanding
of the negative impact that child labor has on a child’s future.”


The Ipsos poll of 1,022 randomly selected adults aged 18 and over was
conducted June 26-30 via Ipsos’ U.S. online panel. The precision of the
poll is measured using a credibility interval, and in this case, it is
considered accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points had all U.S.
adults, aged 18 and over, been surveyed. These data are weighted to
ensure that the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects
that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S.
Census Bureau.

ChildFund International is a global child development and protection
agency serving more than 17.8 million children and family members in 30
countries. For 75 years, we have helped the world’s deprived, excluded
and vulnerable children survive and thrive to reach their full potential
and become leaders of enduring change. As a member of ChildFund
Alliance, we create supportive environments in which children can
flourish. To
sponsor a child in need, visit the ChildFund website