The U.S. Department of Labor released the 18th annual edition of its Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The report, prepared by the Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), shines a spotlight on child labor globally and assesses the progress some countries have made in upholding their international commitments to eliminate this practice.
“We must maintain strong resolve to end child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking,” said the Department’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, Martha Newton. “Governments must outlaw labor exploitation and then adequately enforce these laws. ILAB is committed to helping governments do these things and do them better.”
The report, mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000, is the most comprehensive research product on the state of child labor worldwide. The International Labor Organization estimates there are still over 152 million child laborers — one in every 10 children globally.
This year, the report adds three new criteria that countries must meet in order to achieve ILAB’s highest assessment of “Significant Advancement.” Only 12 countries — including Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Serbia, and Tunisia — met the new criteria for “Significant Advancement,” which this year requires a broader baseline of legal and policy labor standards to be met.
Over 60 percent of the more than 1,900 suggested actions in this year’s Findings relate to the need to strengthen laws or improve the enforcement of such laws – highlighting the substantial gaps that remain worldwide. By focusing on adoption of strong legislative frameworks and better enforcement of national laws, governments can create a strong foundation of protections for vulnerable children and families from child labor and other labor abuses. In addition, the Findings provide vital information to governments for targeting and coordinating appropriate policy responses to accelerate global efforts to end these practices.
The Department also released updated versions of its two smartphone apps available for download on both iOS and Android platforms. Sweat & Toil contains the latest information on goods produced by child labor or forced labor and the latest findings on governments’ efforts to address child labor. Comply Chain, which has been redesigned to be more user-friendly and includes Spanish and French language versions, provides companies clear and detailed guidance on how to develop robust social compliance systems in their global supply chains.
The mission of the Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards, and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. For more information about the Department’s work on these issues, visit http://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.