U.S. Announces Grants to Combat Exploitative Child Labor

 

A child picking green beans in Ethiopia (USAID photo)

Washington DC,
October 4, 2011

 

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis released three new reports on child labor and forced labor October 3 and announced $32.5 million in grants to combat child labor around the world.

“These reports provide an overview of international efforts to protect children from hazardous work and identify critical gaps in policy and enforcement that leave them vulnerable,” Solis said. “Through increased education and awareness, and critical assistance to families and governments, we can help make exploitative child labor a thing of the past.”

The “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor” report (PDF, 11MB), mandated by the Trade and Development Act, contains more than 140 country profiles, focusing on hazardous work performed by children. The report includes major findings on each central government’s efforts to address the worst forms of child labor; gaps in legislation, enforcement, policies and programs; and proposed actions for each government to consider in addressing those gaps. It also provides details about the accessibility and cost of education, which is not compulsory everywhere, by country.

The updated “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” (PDF, 8.3MB) mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, expands the number of goods by two, for a total of 130, and adds one country where they are produced, for a total of 71.

The list of goods and products produced by forced or indentured child labor (XLS, 93KB) required by Executive Order 13126 has also been updated.

To address the challenges of combating child labor and to highlight new initiatives, Solis hosted a panel discussion October 3. Participants included Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa; Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. of the Philippines; Constance Thomas, director of the International Labour Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor; and Daphne Culanag, project director of World Vision in the Philippines.

The three reports were developed by the Labor Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs based on data collected from U.S. embassies, foreign governments, international and nongovernmental organizations, field research projects, academic research and media reports.

The new grants are:

• $15 million awarded to the International Labour Organization in Geneva to provide assistance to targeted countries in order to promote sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable populations; support innovative research and monitoring systems to aid policy development and program design; and encourage new efforts to protect children from exploitation in domestic work.

• $15 million awarded to World Vision in the Philippines to address the worst forms of child labor in sugarcane production.

• $2.5 million awarded to the International Labour Organization to support the Labor Department’s programming and implementation of impact evaluations to identify best practices for addressing child labor.

In recognition of the impact of the global economic crisis on vulnerable children, the international community met at The Hague in 2010 to renew its commitment to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by 2016. Delegates agreed to a road map for meeting that deadline and called on world leaders to implement it.

More than 215 million children are engaged in child labor, the International Labour Organization estimates, with more than half performing hazardous work. The ILO also has found that a growing number of 15- to 17-year-olds are engaging in work that is hazardous to their health, safety and morals.