Italy – Children

I. Guidelines and General Principles

“The second Italian NAP-BHR intends to strengthen the application of the UNGPs through a series of complementary measures, referring in particular to the following guidelines:

– the commitment to update and improve collective action in relation to multiple human rights issues from the perspective of protecting the ‘most vulnerable’ (women and girls, minors, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ persons, migrants and asylum seekers, persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, the elderly), with the aim to empower their role and involvement as right-holders, where individual aspects related to business activities may have a significant impact on these categories from a labour and economic point of view.” (p. 7)

II. Premises

b) Italy and the UNGPs

“The NAP (…) introduces limited objectives and actions, with reference to the national context translated into the following priorities:

2. The fight against caporalato (especially in the agricultural and construction sectors) and forms of exploitation, forced labour, child labour, slavery and irregular work, with particular attention to migrants and victims of trafficking” (p. 10)

IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments

Smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings

“In particular, the new Plan will be based on the following key priorities: (…) (f) strengthen efforts to prevent child trafficking for multiple exploitation purposes (…) (i) continue to take measures to ensure that the return of trafficked persons is carried out with respect for their rights, safety and dignity and, with regard to children, in full compliance with the principle of the best interests of the child” (p. 24)

International development cooperation

“for a targeted sectoral intervention concerning vulnerable categories, it is important to enhance wider knowledge in the business world about some guidelines adopted in this field: the Guidelines on Childhood and Adolescence, recently revised, the Cooperation Guidelines on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Girls and Children (2020-2024)” (p. 25)

Children’s and adolescents’ rights

“The Italian Government supports public and private sector initiatives to promote attention, inclusion and protection of children’s and adolescents’ rights in business practices with the aim of integrating them into all aspects of the value chain – from investment practices, supplier relations, marketing, end-product safety, data protection 41 and privacy protection, to the impact of business activities on communities, market and the environment. Mention should be made, in this regard, of UNICEF commitment which, starting from the “Children’s Rights & Business Principles”, has developed and promoted a series of materials addressed to both Governments and businesses to integrate the protection of children’s rights in business practices. In this context, Italy recalls the relevant contents introduced in the European Union Strategy on the Rights of the Child adopted by the EU Commission on 24 March 2021 and, more specifically, renews its commitment inherent in Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda to end child labour, in all its forms, by 2025. Italy also promotes “family friendly policies”, as national and corporate policies aimed at supporting workers in their role as parents/caregivers. On this issue, UNICEF has formulated some important indications on the best ways Governments and the private sector can build “family friendly” policies: – encouraging employers to introduce gender-sensitive and inclusive paid leave entitlements, flexible working arrangements and childcare support systems; – the introduction of paid parental, maternity and paternity paid leave in the early-birth period and for the first year of a child’s life; fair and gender-sensitive parental leave to ensure that no parent is overburdened by family care; leave available to all, both for fulltime employees and those working part-time or under non-standard contractual arrangements; and financial coverage linked to birth care; – childcare services made accessible by the end of parental leave, so that there is no gap in available support; – quality childcare services, made accessible, flexible and affordable, available to all children, regardless of family circumstances; – alignment of childcare services with other family support policies, such as universal family allowances, to reduce the risk of existing inequalities in access to public childcare facilities.” (p. 40)

ANNEX 1 – Accountability Grid and Assessment Tools for the Implementation of the NAP

“7. Fully implement the provisions contained in the new legislation on Development Cooperation, with particular focus on the relationship between for-profit and not-for-profit actors and promote the widest knowledge among companies of the Guidelines on Childhood and Adolescence, the Cooperation Guidelines on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Girls and Children (2020-2024) and the Guidelines on Disability and Social Inclusion in Cooperation Interventions” (p. 62)

“21. Reaffirm as a priority the elimination of all forms of exploitation of child labour in Italy and with reference to the economic activities of Italian companies abroad, as provided for by the relevant ILO Conventions; to this end, encourage the dissemination among companies of initiatives aimed at increasing attention on impacts of business activities on children’s rights and on the need for the inclusion of adequate remedies and mitigation measures as per the risk of violation of such rights. The inclusion of children’s rights in business practices includes: the provision of “family friendly policies” designed to support workers in their role as parents/caregivers (smart working, paid parental leave, social protection and adequate wages for all); the introduction of measures to monitor the presence of minors in the workplace; the adoption of Child Safeguarding Policies/Codes of Conduct to foresee, report and take charge of potential risk situations for minors who come into contact with the company; the provision of security guarantees for digital environment (data protection, access to age-appropriate content, privacy protection).” (p. 64)