Sugar Union rejects data from US report on child labor in Dominican Republic
The National Sugar Union (Unazucar) assures that the industry rejects child labor and considers inadmissible the assertion highlighted by the 2020 United States Department of Labor report on the worst forms of child labor, which cites land clearing among them for the production, sowing, cutting, and harvesting of sugar cane.
In a note sent as a result of Diario Libre’s review of the report, César Heredia, president of Unazucar, indicated that the production chain of each private sugar company is evaluated and certified under international standards, which establish non-tolerance of children in work activities.
According to the recent report by the United States Department of Labor, most children between the ages of 5 and 14 who work in the Dominican Republic do so in service activities, followed by industrial, and thirdly in agriculture.
The document highlights that children in the Dominican Republic perform dangerous tasks in agriculture. Among these activities are land clearing for sugar cane production, planting, cutting, and harvesting.
Heredia indicated that the sugar-producing industries “are socially committed to overcoming the conditions of vulnerability of children living in sugarcane farming communities, in favor of projects and programs which are implemented for education, health and sustainability.“
He indicated that these actions are recognized by trade union entities, government authorities, and international organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“The corporate social responsibility policy implemented by the sugarcane industrial sector fully complies with the rights of children, and promotes compliance with the law in favor of legitimate respect for children, the principles of fair trade, within which child exploitation is rejected, and the standards of international certifying companies that audit labor activities to guarantee the absence of forced labor and work of minors,” the entity said.