MONTREAL, July 16, 2013 /CNW/ - A new poll released today reveals that Quebecers 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 75 per cent of Quebecers think it's easy to turn a blind eye to child labour in developing countries.
The majority also misjudged the scale of the child slavery worldwide. On average, Quebecers estimated that 11.5 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 Quebecers did not know it's possible to buy fair trade clothing, wine, jewelry, soccer balls, flowers, seafood and produce like green peppers and bananas.
"Quebecers 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 10 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 Quebecers want options to protect children in other countries from exploitation, just like children in Quebec should be protected."
"India is the second most populated country in the world with 1.2 billion people. Over 70 per cent of its population is under the age of 25. It's a magnificent and inspiring country with a complex and fascinating culture, but poverty in India has reached staggering levels. What is hardest to accept is that, because of their vulnerability, children are the ones who suffer most from poverty," said Geneviève Borne, the new World Vision ambassador in Québec.
Despite Quebecers' perception of child slavery, the poll also showed they are prepared to take action.
ADDITIONAL POLL RESULTS
- 78 per cent of Quebecers point to Western demand for cheap products as the driver behind a company's need for cheap labour.
- Quebecers (94 per cent) are the most likely of all Canadians to think that companies should be legally obligated to provide information about the factory conditions, workers' wages and commit to not using child labour.
- 90 per cent are willing to pay more for products guaranteed to be free of child labour. On average, Quebecers would pay 18 per cent more for such products.
- 78 per cent are disturbed to see children working in the tourism industry when they're on holiday.
- 90 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.
- Quebecers (97 per cent) are the most likely of all Canadians to believe that protecting children is the responsibility of national governments in countries where children are exploited or sold.
World Vision recently launched a new campaign, No Child For Sale, which provides resources for Canadians to 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
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