If there’s one thing you don’t want weighing down your online shopping cart, it’s the more than 73 million child laborers who toil under inhumane conditions worldwide to make clothing. Our clothing. “Avoid” is a browser plugin that screens your browsing activity for products associated with the exploitation of children. Developed by German group Earthlink, the app uses real-time data the from Aktiv Gegen Kinderarbeit (Active Against Child Labour) campaign to scour popular retailers—including ASOS, Amazon, Google Shopping, Target, Macy’s, and Yoox—for brands with known child-labor violations. Offending items are hidden from view. (You can also toggle the plugin to view uncensored results.)
Child labor isn’t just a violation of fundamental human rights; it’s also known to hinder children’s development, potentially leading to lifelong physical or psychological damage, according to the International Labour Organization. By keeping children of the poor out of school—and limiting their prospects for upward social mobility—child labor perpetuates poverty from one generation to the next.
By keeping children of the poor out of school, child labor perpetuates poverty from one generation to the next.
A recent ILO study has shown that eliminating child labor and investing in better schooling and social services could create economic benefits nearly seven times greater than the costs.
So far, Avoid has blanked out nearly 1.2 million products for shoppers—a contradictory but effective way of making the companies’ culpability visible. “Most people think, that cheap products are made by child labor,” Earthlink’s Nikoletta Pagiati told Fast Company. “But there are a lot of high prized products–luxury brands–which are made by child labor, too. Consumers really have the power to influence and control great companies so that they are forced to change their corporate responsibility. This is already happening.”