Entries by CLC Contributor

International Labour Organizaton (ILO) Experts Comment on U.S. Government Efforts to Implement Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

[Adopted in 2016 and published in 2017]   Articles 4(1), 5 and 7(1) of the Convention. Determination of types of hazardous work, monitoring mechanisms and penalties. Hazardous work in agriculture from 16 years of age. The Committee previously noted that section 213 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits children aged 16 years and above to undertake, in the agricultural sector, occupations declared to be hazardous or detrimental to their health or well-being by the Secretary of Labor. The Government, referring to Paragraph 4 of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Recommendation, 1999 (No. 190), stated that Congress considered it as safe and appropriate for children from the age of 16 years to perform work in the agricultural sector. However, the Committee noted the allegation of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) that a significant number of children under 18 years were employed in agriculture under dangerous conditions, including long hours and exposure to pesticides, with risk of serious injury. The Committee also took note of the observations of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) that section 213 of the FLSA, which was the product of extensive consultation with the social partners, is in compliance with the text of the Convention and Paragraph 4 of Recommendation No. 190. […]

Investing in Our Future, One Transaction at a Time—How a Financial Transaction (FTT) tax would work–from the experts

Sarah Anderson, Director of Global Economy Project, Inst. for Policy Studies: Many countries already have some form of a financial transaction tax, including those with strong and fast-growing financial markets, such as the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, and India. Recently, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia agreed on the range of financial assets that will be taxed and how the revenue will be captured for what will be the first regional financial transaction tax. Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research: Even small taxes on trading can raise large amounts of money. The Joint Economic Committee calculated that a tax of just 0.03 percent imposed on all financial transactions could raise more than $40 billion a year. A scaled tax with a rate of 0.2 percent on stock trades, and 0.01 percent on derivatives, could raise more than $110 billion a year. Several bills are working their way through Congress. Worldwide, FTTs have the potential to raise up to $300 billion in annual revenue. Susan Harley, Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division: The tax will help avoid market meltdowns by cutting the profit margins of high-frequency trading. Computerized trading by milliseconds is not long-term, job creating capital investment—it’s gambling with the integrity of the market–more than once […]

Jim Leonard Remembers Claire White, Recipient of the National Consumer League’s Florence Kelley Award

REMARKS BY JIM LEONARD AT THE CELEBRATION OF CLAIRE WHITE’S LIFE Jim Leonard, retired attorney with the US Department of Labor and a long-time colleague of Claire White made the following remarks at a ceremony celebrating her life on September 10, 2016: The most important thing about Claire White, as I see it, and as I think all of you see it, if that you just couldn’t help loving her.  Her human warmth, her many kindnesses, and her amazing empathetic eyes were, to me at any rate, what most endeared her to all of us. This gathering is a very emotional time.  But the emotion we are focusing on here is not our profound sorrow at Claire’s passing, but instead the pleasure we feel in recalling and celebrating her life. Quite a few others will be talking today about Claire, so I want to keep my remarks short.  So here are two scenes from Claire’s life that some or even all of you may not recall or even know about. The first scene dates from the late 1970s, when Claire came to the Department of Labor for a job interview in the Fair Labor Standards Division of the Solicitor’s Office.  I was the first person to interview her.  She also had interviews some other lawyers, and I did not have […]

Statement by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on the passage of India’s Child Labour Amendment Bill of 2016

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 is a missed opportunity. I was hoping that today the elected leaders of our country will acknowledge that the value of freedom and childhood is greater than the value of a vote; that they would respond to the voices of the most exploited and vulnerable children. I had hoped that the first phase of my struggle of thirty-six years would culminate in the creation of a strong law and I would work with the Government for its effective implementation. Despite its progressive elements, the lacunae in this Bill are self-defeating. The definition of family and family enterprises is flawed. This Bill uses Indian family values to justify economic exploitation of children. It is misleading the society by blurring the lines between learning in a family and working in a family enterprise. The Bill reinforces status quo in society by hindering socio-economic mobility of the marginalised and furthers the rigid norms of social hierarchy. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have fixed targets for elimination of child labour and accomplishment of universal, inclusive education for children, rights which I had fought and advocated for.  As the world progresses towards this goal, India threatens to unravel the pace of progress by opening a back door for large number of children to enter workforce. […]

Independence Day: Freedom to….

By Jonathan Todres Even amidst the barbeques, beach trips, and sales during 4th of July weekend, most Americans are quick to declare proudly that July 4th is about our independence, our freedom. However we choose to celebrate/observe the holiday, I think we ought to spend some time asking, independent or free to do what, to be what. To be clear, though history matters, I am not suggesting we ask what the signatories to the Declaration of Independence wanted, because we know that they permitted, and in some cases embraced, certain ideas we now reject (read: slavery, no voting rights for women, etc.).  Independence means we can choose what type of society we want to create. My wish? I want to live in and contribute to a society that elevates every child and is committed to protecting and ensuring the rights and well-being of all children. On that front, we have a long way to go, as evidenced by the newly-released State of the World’s Children report, published by UNICEF. The annual report has sobering news for those who care about children around the globe. And it shows that the United States has work to do as well.  Sure, the United States is performing better than many other countries, but the comparative analysis is not the full picture (after all, what […]

A Better Brick: Addressing Child Labor in Nepal’s Brick-Making Industry

    By Deborah Andrews Prior to the April 2015 earthquake, Nepal was in the midst of a construction boom that was struggling to keep up with the rapidly increasing population and urbanization trends. After the earthquake, the need to rebuild further increased the demand for bricks. For workers on Nepal’s kilns, the brick industry played a much needed role as a source of income for unskilled labor, although the industry has been characterized by exploitative employment practices. The Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) with its partners – GoodWeave International, Brick Clean Group Nepal (BCN) and Humanity United (HU) – recognized the importance of the sector and saw an  opportunity to create incentives based partnerships to bring improvements to an informal, migrant, working population with little government representation or oversight. A project named ‘Better Brick Nepal (BBN)’ is paving the way for nationwide change throughout the brick kiln industry.   Here are the top 10 facts you need to know: The number of kilns currently operating in Nepal is thought to be between 1,200 and 3,000 –with a large number of unregistered kilns. Many kilns exist on the periphery of communities where there is little government oversight, community organization or worker association representation which leaves the workers wide open to exploitative practices. Approximately 250,000 people are thought to work annually in […]

46 Groups Ask Congressional Appropriators to Fully Fund USDOL’s Child Labor Program

May 3, 2016 [This letter in support of ILAB funding was recently sent to appropriators Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Patty Murray, and Representatives Tom Cole and Rosa DeLauro on behalf of 46 organizations, representing tens of millions of Americans]. Dear Chairs and Ranking Members: As the undersigned members of the NGO community and anti-child labor advocates, we write to urge you to ensure critical funding to end child labor and forced labor around the world.   The Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at the U.S. Department of Labor has worked for 20 years to reduce exploitative child labor, combat forced labor, and provide technical assistance to address worker rights in countries with which the United States has trade agreements or preference programs. As you determine funding levels for Fiscal Year 2017, we ask that you restore ILAB’s child labor grant funding to $58.8 million (fiscal year 2015 levels) to ensure that ILAB’s critical work towards ending exploitative child labor continues. In addition, we ask that you approve $10 million for programs that address worker rights issues through technical assistance in countries with which the United States has free trade agreements or trade preference programs, and $9.5 million for program evaluation to continue the ensuring that ILAB’s work is grounded in the needs of vulnerable children and their families […]

10 Facts About the Latest Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas from Tulane University:

[On July 30, 2015, Tulane University researchers released their latest study — “Survey Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas”– we present highligths here written and compiled by Mary Donovan, contributing writer to the CLC.] Child labor in cocoa production in West Africa is increasing. The total numbers of children in cocoa production, child labor in cocoa production, and hazardous work by children in cocoa production in West Africa all increased from 2009/10 to 2013/14. In 2013/14 there were 2,260,407 children working in cocoa production in West Africa. 1,303,009 of those children work in Cote d’Ivoire and 957,398 work in Ghana. A plan to eliminate child labor in the industry exists. Fifteen years ago, representatives of the international cocoa industry signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol “to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sectors of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.” The Protocol provides a framework for accountability and outlines action steps. The Ministers of Labor from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire signed a Declaration of Joint Action to support the implementation of the Protocol in 2010. In spite of this initiative, child labor in cocoa production in West Africa has increased. Cote d’Ivoire experienced an especially large growth. The numbers of children working in cocoa production increased by 59%, the number of children doing child labor in […]

CLC PRESS RELEASE: Congress narrowly avoids shutdown of programs targeting child labor

85 million children are currently in dangerous, dirty, and degrading jobs; $53 million saved in budget deal to ensure children are protected from exploitative labor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Reid Maki, Child Labor Coalition, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org

Washington, DC—The Congressional budget package released today continues funding for programs to end child labor after the House and Senate voted to cut funding to the Department of Labor’s impactful and critical program in June 2015. The International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) directs the U.S. Government’s efforts to end forced labor and child labor around the world. Advocates for protecting children from child labor are thankful for Congressional leadership.

Hyatt Hotels Chain Signs ‘The Code’

By CLC Contributing Writer Mary Donovan On December 10, 2015, Hyatt Hotels Corporation re-affirmed its efforts to fight child trafficking by signing a code of conduct known simply as “the Code.” This is a big step forward in the fight against human trafficking and the abuse and exploitation of girls and young women, and in some cases, boys and young men caught in the so-called “sex industry.” The Code is an industry-driven initiative to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry through awareness, tools, and support. It was developed by End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (EPCAT) the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and UNICEF. The sexual exploitation of children often takes place in hotels. Hotels are a prime place for this crime because traffickers and pimps can avoid being caught by paying for hotel rooms in cash and switching rooms nightly. Polaris, a global anti-trafficking non-profit, reported that 35% of survivors said hotels and motels were the primary places sexual exploitation occurred. These facts make the tourism industry a good place to start to combat the sexual exploitation of children. When an organization signs the Code, they commit to following six steps. These steps include training employees and providing information for travelers on how to report suspected cases, adding clauses to contracts with a zero tolerance policy […]