Washington, DC—The Child Labor Coalition (CLC) is releasing today the “ABC’s of Child Labor,” a short film exploring how widespread child labor is globally and how many products are touched by it. The film, featuring four elementary school children discussing the exploitation of children, is being released in anticipation of Universal Children’s Day this Sunday, November 20. Universal Children’s Day has been recognized by the United Nations since 1954 as a day of “worldwide fraternity and understanding between children” and a day to promote the welfare of children.
“What better way to learn about the issue of child labor than from a few American children themselves telling the stories of other children who are less fortunate and trapped in child labor and child slavery around the world,” said Sally Greenberg, co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition and the executive director of the National Consumers League (NCL).
“Don’t let the charm of these children fool you. They are deadly serious about ending child labor and they want us adults to wake up and help,” said Len Morris, a filmmaker who heads Media Voices for Children.
The film is designed to help the public understand the true scope of child labor. “Consumer polling conducted by Child Fund International alerted us to the fact that three out of four Americans believe the extent of child labor globally is less than one million, when there are actually 168 million children trapped in child labor,” noted Reid Maki, coordinator of the CLC and NCL’s director of child labor advocacy.
“Having school children talk about child labor is appropriate because child labor prevents millions of children from getting an education, essentially robbing them of their futures,” said Lorretta Johnson, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and co-chair of the CLC. “At the American Federation of Teachers, we are committed to ensuring that the world’s 120 million out-of-school youth have access to an education and ending child labor is indispensable to achieving that goal.”
“The film does a great job of driving home the point that child labor is ubiquitous—in six continents and over 70 countries and that it helps produce over 130 products—many of them items we wear, eat, or use every day,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, and the CLC’s chair of the International Issues Committee.
Although it is primarily focused on global child labor, the film makes note that child labor is still a huge problem in the United States. “This compelling short film reminds us that we also have child labor in the U.S., where children are allowed to work for wages on farms beginning at age 12 and to work unlimited hours when school is not in session,” said Norma Flores Lopez, the CLC’s chair of the Domestic Issues Committee. “Here, at the CLC, we are working hard to end the exemptions to our child labor laws that allow this and we hope the ‘ABC’s of Child Labor’ will be a powerful new tool in our campaign.”
The ABC’s of Child Labor is funded by a grant from the Umberto Romano and Clarinda Romano Foundation.
About the Child Labor Coalition
The Child Labor Coalition, which has 37 member organizations, represents consumers, labor unions, educators, human rights and labor rights groups, child advocacy groups, and religious and women’s groups. It was established in 1989, and is co-chaired by the National Consumers League and the American Federation of Teachers. Its mission is to protect working youth and to promote legislation, programs, and initiatives to end child labor exploitation in the United States and abroad. The CLC’s website and membership list can be found at www.stopchildlabor.org.