Myanmar factories gather to discuss age verification

FWF looks back on a successful supplier seminar in Myanmar on the topic of age verification. In November, factory representatives, agents and FWF experts exchanged ideas on how to establish a more robust age verification system to prevent child labour. This discussion culminated in a simple FWF guideline.

In Yangon, over 30 representatives of 16 garment factories that produce for FWF member companies came together. With local FWF staff, they exchanged ideas and mechanisms to create a strong age verification system. The participants started off by sharing practical challenges related to age verification.

False ID
Due to high labour mobility from rural to urban commercial centers like Yangon, along with the lack of proper identification documents, it is challenging for factories to verify the age of every worker. Many youth lack ID cards or create falsified ones to apply for a job. Also, in times of high demand, factories recruit new workers without requesting the necessary documents.

A factory’s CSR officer: ‘We recruited a new worker, not knowing that he was a child labourer. But after employing him for some time, we found out that the worker had used falsified documents during the recruitment process. Then, all the responsibility fell upon the factory and we had to provide compensation until he turned 16. That doesn’t seem fair.’

FWF Guidance
Taking all the factories’ challenges into account, FWF introduced a simple age verification guideline to help prevent garment factories from recruiting children, even unwittingly. The guideline strongly recommends the factories to follow six steps of good practices for age verification whenever they recruit new workers.

These six age verification steps are: 1) Child labour policy; 2) Document check; 3) Interview with the candidate worker; 4) Medical check; 5) Checklist to document all HR steps for age verification; and 6) Training of HR staff.

You can read FWF’s Guidance on age verification at garment factories in Myanmar here.