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, according to a poll commissioned by Henrico County-based ChildFund International.
The national poll found that 77 percent of those surveyed would be unlikely to purchase clothing made through child labor, the global child development and protection agency said.
When asked if they would be willing to pay more for clothing not made using child labor, just over half — 55 percent — indicated they would, ChildFund said. Among those indicating a willingness to pay more, the average person said they would be willing to spend 34 percent more.
Garment factories in developing countries “regularly employ children as young as 10 years old,” said Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund, which operates in 30 countries.
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However, the survey showed that most Americans underestimate the number of children involved in child labor across the world: 73 percent thought the number was less than 1 million.
UNICEF estimates that about 150 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are being used as child laborers, “often in exploitive and dangerous situations,” ChildFund said.
“The dual nature of our concern,” Goddard said, “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.”
The survey’s results “should help companies understand that they need not make economic choices over moral ones,” Goddard said.
“I believe that American consumers will become increasingly educated about the source of the products they purchase,” she said, “and begin making more knowledgeable and ethically driven buying decisions.”
The poll of 1,022 randomly selected adults was conducted June 26-30 by Ipsos Public Affairs. The poll is considered accurate within 2.5 percentage points.