New partnership with IOM in fight against child labour in the Mexican fashion industry


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has developed an initiative to prevent, detect and assist victims of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in the fashion industry, as well as to strengthen the mechanisms for cross-sector collaboration on this issue. Begun in September 2019 and supported by C&A Foundation, the initiative will run for 14 months and its efforts will be focused on the state of Puebla, Mexico.

The clothing industry ranks second in Puebla's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and in spite of various actions that have been taken to avoid and prevent child labour, “According to the 2019 Annual Report on Social Gaps and Conditions of Poverty, issued by the Secretariat of Social Welfare, the state of Puebla has a high degree of social inequality, with 59.4% of its population living in poverty.”

“In light of the problem of human trafficking in Mexico, IOM is facing this challenge by fostering linkages between the public and private sectors to establish co-ordination mechanisms aimed at creating action that will help provide assistance and social integration to the victims of human trafficking”, explained Christopher Gascon, Chief of Mission for IOM in Mexico.

This initiative will seek to put strategies, mechanisms and operations in place for collaboration with local members of civil society and the public and private sectors in the state of Puebla, so that the initiative can avail itself of their knowledge, experience and resources and can tap their potential for joining in the fight against human trafficking, forced labour and child labour. Some of the decision-makers who will be participating in this initiative include the State of Puebla Secretariat of Labour, the Office of the State Attorney General, the National Association against Human Trafficking in Society (ANTHUS), the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), members of the Confederation of Mexican Employers (COPARMEX) in Puebla and the Puebla-Tlaxcala Regional Office of the National Chamber of the Clothing Industry (CANAIVE; all acronyms in Spanish).

IOM’s allies will participate in three inter-agency work groups in which an Annual Work Plan will be drafted. This document will include the specific actions to be taken by civil society and the public and private sectors in Puebla to prevent and detect human trafficking that is done for the purposes of labour exploitation, forced labour and child labour, and to assist the victims of trafficking as well as to learn about the best practices with regard to this issue.

Similarly, a training workshop will be held, focusing on the Protocol for Protecting and Assisting Victims of Human Trafficking in the State of Puebla, and some of the mechanisms for coordinating among these three sectors will also be studied.

It should be noted that, from October 2015 to February 2019, IOM ran a project called Strengthening the Capacities of the Mexican Government to Prosecute Cases of Human Trafficking, with an Emphasis on Human Rights and on Improving Systems to Protect Victims in states such as Puebla. This initiative is therefore a continuation of those efforts.

Created in 1951 and a UN partner organization since 2016, the International Organization for Migration is committed to the principle that orderly migration in humane conditions benefits migrants and society.

In 2004, IOM established itself in Mexico through an agreement with the Mexican government. Currently, IOM is sponsoring 10 projects within the framework of providing assistance to migrants, improving shelters at the northern border, strengthening regional programs and bolstering the fight against human trafficking and the illicit trafficking of migrants by sea and by cross-border movement.

It is through these and other efforts that IOM and C&A Foundation seek to prevent and detect human trafficking, forced labour and child labour in the fashion industry, thus creating the foundation for everyone involved in the industry to thrive.

For more information about IOM, please visit their website.