In June 2012 the SOMO report ‘Where the shoe pinches’, written under commission for the campaign ‘Stop child labour – School is the best place to work’ was released. Field research in China clearly showed the presence of child labour in the manufacturing process of brand leather shoes for the European market. In response to this report, Members of European Parliament Ria Oomen-Ruijten (CDA) and Thijs Berman (PvdA) posed a series of questions to the European Commission and to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Ashton about child labour in the shoe industry.
In the report, the production chain and the international trade in leather shoes have been inventoried. The question that the study centers on was if child labour occurs in the production of brand shoes for the European market. Field research in China clearly showed that children do play a part in the production of leather shoes for export, also related to famous international brands for the European market. The children work mainly in small workshops that carry out production work sourced to them by large shoe manufacturers who produce for the export market. Only 2 of the 21 researched brand shoe companies in the Dutch market have a publicly available policy that pays attention to child labour in the production chain of leather shoes.