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Human Rights

Key Fact

  • 60% of global child labour happens on farms. 

Our global economy and the way we buy and sell food are systems designed to make money. As a result, the people working in the system can be treated unfairly: their human rights and labour rights are disregarded as the systems work to achieve the biggest possible profit.  

It’s time we changed our systems so that they protect all workers – workers should have fair wages, equal rights and clear standards in working conditions.  

  • Supermarkets play a powerful role in deciding what food’s on offer and how it’s priced. This means they can influence governments and apply pressure to reduce costs, meaning workers are at risk for labouring in worse conditions.  
  • When shops selling food pressurise producers to sell food at lower prices, this can be especially difficult for small-scale farmers and can increase unpaid women’s labour and child labour.  
  • We’ve become used to being able to buy exactly the food we want, whenever we want. Our fast-changing demands can mean the people working in the food system have their working hours changed dramatically or their wages cut without warning.  
  • Human trafficking and forced labour is a huge problem in the food industry (especially as a result of illegal fishing activities that use forced labour). People who have been trafficked or forced to work may have abusive and cramped working and living conditions, work too many hours, have poor sanitation and be made to live at sea for long periods.  

People must be at the heart of all the changes we make to the food industry. 

Lana Weidgenant

Lana Weidgenant, 22, Brazil

In seeing problems coming from our food systems, I knew that progressing to better food production and consumption practices would mean positives for climate action, for biodiversity, for environmental justice and human rights.

Lana is working towards sustainable consumption patterns, intersecting food to the youth climate movement. Lana has worked on a range of projects from organising healthier sustainable food, at their university canteen, to organising a Youth Lobby Day to ban factory farms. Read more about Lana’s story on Act4Food.