Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2010) – U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Wednesday announced the release of three reports on child labor and/or forced labor around the world. Solis was joined by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in unveiling the reports.
“We consider the eradication of the worst forms of child labor to be a matter of urgency,” said Secretary Solis. “We hope these reports will assist governments around the world in taking effective next steps to eliminate the exploitation of children. No human being should work under conditions of forced labor or debt bondage or be forced to work under fear of punishment.
“Shining light on these problems is a first step toward motivating governments, the private sector and concerned citizens to take action to end these intolerable abuses that have no place in our modern world.”
The reports were developed by the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, also known as ILAB, based on data collected from U.S. embassies, foreign governments, international and nongovernmental organizations, technical assistance and field research projects, academic research and the media.
Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor is a report mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 that provides information on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. This year’s report introduces a new format highlighting the major findings related to each government’s efforts and includes country-specific suggestions for actions that would help combat these problems.
ILAB also released an update to its List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. The update adds six new goods and 12 new countries for a total of 128 goods from 70 countries that ILAB has reason to believe are produced by forced labor, child labor or both in violation of international standards.
In addition, ILAB released a proposed revision to the current List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor under Executive Order 13126 of 1999. The revision removes one product and adds another, maintaining a total of 29 products from 21 countries. These proposed changes to the executive order list will be available for a 60-day public comment period beginning Dec. 16.
By the end of 2010, ILAB will have funded more than $740 million in programs to help more than 80 countries combat the worst forms of child labor. The agency conducts research on and formulates international economic, trade and labor policies in collaboration with other U.S. government agencies, and provides international technical assistance in support of U.S.foreign-labor policy objectives.
Copies of the reports and frequently asked questions are available at http://www.dol.gov/ilab/highlights/if-20101215.htm.