The programme, in alliance with the makers of Tetleys, Typhoo and Yorkshire teas, will initially work with 100 plantations in the Indian state of Assam, where more than one sixth of 30 million citizens live in tea-growing communities.

Organised by Unicef and the Ethical Tea Partnership, the coalition is the first of its kind to bring together all key stakeholders in the tea industry – public and private organisations and the supply chain – to tackle child exploitation in the sector.

Solution to scale

Tesco’s responsible sourcing director Giles Bolton said: “The tea industry is important to Assam, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that the shocking cases of child trafficking and exploitation in some of these communities are ended.

“As a large retailer we can use our scale to help make a real difference. We’re really pleased to be supporting this programme and to be working with a range of expert partners to ensure young people, particularly girls and their families in Assam are better able to protect themselves and have a secure future.”

Child protection issues are a huge challenge in India, especially in rural areas including those that grow and produce tea. More than 80 million children a year – 41% of the child population – leave school without completing eight years of education.

How the partnership will tackle these problems:

  • Equip more than 25,000 girls with the knowledge and ‘life skills’ that will help them secure a better future and reduce their vulnerability to violence, abuse and exploitation.
  • Work with state and district government to improve the quality of education and the effectiveness of child protection policies to help make a sustainable difference to the lives of children now and in many years to come.
  • Give more than 10,000 community members the knowledge and training to protect children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation.
Earlier this year, consumer good firm Unilever pledged research and development funds to secure a sustainable future for the tea industry.Read more about that here.

Brad Allen

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