Poll reveals British Columbians think it's easy to ignore child slavery in developing countries

MISSISSAUGA, ON, July 16, 2013 /CNW/ - A new poll released today reveals that British Columbians feel conflicted about child labour and how they may be fueling the tragedy.  Commissioned by World Vision a few weeks after the Bangladesh factory disaster, the Ipsos Reid survey found that 81 per cent of British Columbians think it's easy to turn a blind eye to child labour in developing countries.

The majority also misjudged the scale of child slavery worldwide. On average, British Columbians estimated that 7.9 million children are doing hazardous work. The correct answer, according to the International Labour Organization, is more than 115 million children are doing work that is damaging their bodies, minds and well-being. Many have dropped out of school; many are not able to escape their situation.

A majority of British Columbians did not know it's possible to buy fair trade clothing, wine, jewelry, soccer balls, flowers, seafood and produce like green peppers and bananas. However, they were the most likely of all Canadians to know that coffee and chocolate are available as fair trade.

QUOTES
"British Columbians haven't yet grasped the shocking scale of child labour worldwide. Their estimate of how many children toil in dirty, dangerous and degrading jobs was 14 times lower than reality," said Cheryl Hotchkiss, senior advocacy manager, World Vision Canada.   "It's easy to turn a blind eye to something that's not in your face, but this research shows British Columbians want options to protect children in other countries from exploitation, just like children in Canada should be protected."

"Before I travelled to India I had no idea how horrible life is for child labourers. Then I met children as young as four who were forced to collect trash in the Delhi slums for hours every day. No kid should have to live like this. I urge Canadians to join me and my brothers in this fight to end child slavery," says Drew Scott, ambassador and co-host of W Network's Property Brothers.

Despite British Columbians' perception of child slavery, the poll also showed they are prepared to take action.

ADDITIONAL POLL RESULTS FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA

  • British Columbians are the most likely of all Canadians (81 per cent) to point to Western demand for cheap products as the driver behind a company's need for cheap labour.
  • British Columbians, along with Atlantic Canadians, are also the most willing to pay more for products guaranteed to be free of child labour. On average, British Columbians would pay 28 per cent more for such products - the most of all Canadians.
  • 78 per cent are disturbed to see children working in the tourism industry when they're on holiday.
  • 88 per cent say they would be more likely to buy a vacation through a tour operator or hotel that donates a percentage of revenue to local child protection organizations.
  • 91 per cent think companies should be legally obligated to provide information about the working conditions in their factories, wages and commit to not using child labour.

VIDEO AND PHOTOS

BACKGROUND
World Vision recently launched a new campaign, No Child For Sale, which provides resources for Canadians to understand child slavery and become more responsible consumers. Globally, the aid agency is working to change and enforce laws, educate children, families and communities about children's rights and support people to overcome poverty which often leads to child slavery. Visit NoChildForSale.ca or #nochildforsale.

*These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid survey conducted between May 10 and 17, 2013, in which a sample of 1,924 Canadian adults was interviewed online. The survey is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points had all Canadians adults been polled.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca.

SOURCE: World Vision Canada

For further information:

For interviews contact: 
Britt Hamilton - 416-419-1321 or britt_hamilton@worldvision.ca
Tiffany Baggetta - 416-305-9612 or tiffany_baggetta@worldvision.ca


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