Breaking Chains, Shaping Futures: Joining Hands on World Day Against Child Labour

Posted by Mandy Abel on

“Demand quality, not just in the products you buy, but in the life of the person who made it.”
Orsola de Castro

In a world where childhood should be a time filled with laughter, learning and dreams, the harsh reality of child labour continues to persist. On June 12 - World Day Against Child Labour - we come together to raise awareness and take a stand against this global issue that robs millions of children of their right to a proper childhood.

This day serves as a powerful reminder that it is our collective responsibility to prioritise the well-being and future of all children, placing their rights and dignity above all else. In this article, we delve into the importance of this international observance, the dark side of the toy industry, and how, when we choose to shop with intention, we can contribute to a world that upholds the rights of children and embraces ethical practices.


According to UNICEF, child labour is an issue that still affects roughly 160 million children world wide.

We hear a lot about ethical fashion, chocolate and coffee - not so much about toys. Sadly, the toy industry has a hidden dark side with high incidences of child labour, unsafe working conditions and environmental damage. Behind colourful packaging and carefree play times, countless individuals are forced into labour, with many children denied their right to education and a joyful childhood. The consequences reach further than we know.

Child labour is a complex issue with deep-rooted systemic causes. Poverty is a major factor, as families often rely on children to work and contribute to their income. Limited access to education, cultural norms and the demand for cheap labour also play a role. Weak labour laws and enforcement, along with conflicts and displacement, further contribute to the issue.

As conscientious consumers, it is our responsibility to stand against these practices and demand change.

Image Credit: UNICEF


The right to childhood refers to the fundamental rights and protections that children are entitled to in order to experience a safe, nurturing and fulfilling childhood. It is a concept rooted in the understanding that childhood is a unique and critical phase of life that should be safeguarded and cherished.

These rights include protection them from harm, access to education and healthcare, allowing them to play and express themselves and involving them in decisions that affect their lives. Recognised in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), it is crucial to uphold these rights and create a caring environment where children can grow, learn, and thrive.


At Fairplay, we believe in making a positive impact beyond just selling products. We are committed to ensuring ethical sourcing practices, advocating for fair wages and supporting the communities that make our products possible. By working closely with our suppliers, analysing the information they share and asking the hard questions, we ensure that no child is exploited or deprived of their right to education and a nurturing childhood.

When you choose to shop with us, you become part of the movement to dismantle this dark side of the toy industry. Your support enables us to create a demand for ethical toys and drives the industry toward positive change. You can rest assured that we stand firmly against child labour and prioritise the well-being of every individual involved in our supply chain. Many of our suppliers go beyond fair wages, putting profits back into local communities, education, health care and even business training.

Matr Boomie Impact Work
Matr Boomie is one of our suppliers who focus on empowering women, minority groups and rural artisans through fair trade. They also have a number of community initiatives that give back.

"Quality Toys Made By Empowered Hands"

This is our brand tagline - something that we thought about carefully for a long time as we tried to embody all the values that are important to our store. The word "empowered" refers to a state of being confident, capable and in control of one's own life and choices. When someone is empowered they have a sense of self-belief, personal agency and the ability to make decisions/take actions that align with their values and goals. They can advocate for themselves and pursue their aspirations. Supporting fair trade is exactly what this does for thousands of artisans around the world. 

Each ethical purchase you make is a step towards breaking the cycle of exploitation and creating sustainable change. Together, we're creating a world where every child can flourish, dream and thrive in a safe environment. 

Thank you for being a part of our journey to transform the way we shop for and value toys in Aotearoa, and for supporting a cause that goes beyond profit 💫

And as always - thank you for reading!
Mandy x

I also just wanted to add a little postscript - I am very aware that the cost of living is high in New Zealand at the moment and that it is not always possible to shop our values. The struggle is real and this article has been written to highlight the plight of millions of people and show that every person does have the chance to make a difference regardless of circumstances (you could also pop over to our post on 'Ethical Shopping on a Budget' for some tips and tricks to live your values within your means!)

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