Tag Archive for: USDOL
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 and that it continues to show results in prevention of child labor and labor rights violations.
Approximately 168 million children around the world are engaged in child labor and 85 million children perform hazardous work that threatens their health and development. Since 1995, ILAB has worked to build the capacity of governments and civil society to better address the various social and economic causes of child labor, and has provided direct services to almost 2 million vulnerable children and their families in over 90 countries. ILAB works with the public and private sectors to address child labor and forced labor, and promote fair and safe employment.
Through its holistic programming, ILAB works with international, government, and local actors to increase awareness, improve access to education, and develop economic opportunities for adults, allowing families to improve their livelihoods without relying on children for income to meet basic needs. Preventing and responding to child labor through such community-based approaches protects children from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence. Additionally, by identifying products made by forced labor and child labor and tracking the progress (or lack thereof) made by 125 countries to eliminate these practices, ILAB plays a critical role in driving advocacy to reduce these scourges.
Eliminating child labor is not only good for vulnerable children and families but it also supports U.S. businesses who are currently disadvantaged when they have to compete with businesses that cut costs by illegally employing children.
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
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.
“We are glad to see Congress putting actual funds to support their stated commitment to end the exploitation and abuse of children in the worst forms of child labor. The ILAB funding supports programs to help end and prevent the exploitation of children, said Melysa Sperber, Director the Alliance to Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), “This bipartisan support is critical to keeping the U.S. as a global leader in ending the exploitation of men, women, and children in forced labor and exploitation.”
Currently 85 million children are in dangerous, dirty, and degrading jobs that prevent them from attending school, and are harmful to their physical, mental, and social development, known as hazardous child labor. Boys and girls work in many places including agriculture, mining, quarrying, fishing, factories, domestic work, and commercial sexual exploitation exposing them to harm. 5.5 million of these children are in forced labor.
“We are pleased that Congressional appropriators decided not to eliminate these highly effective child labor programs,” said Reid Maki, Director of Child Labor Advocacy for the National Consumers League and the coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition, representing 35 organizations. “Since 2000, nearly 80 million children have been removed from child labor. Child labor numbers have been reduced by one-third. The Department of Labor’s programs helped bring about these dramatic results and eliminating these programs would have meant turning back the clock to a time when the US government did little to help children escape the shackles of child slavery and the worst forms of child labor. Instead, we look forward to continuing progress in reducing these scourges.”
Despite great progress in reducing child labor, Congress is very close to cutting all of the Department of Labor’s funding for child labor grant programs. Both the House and Senate have proposed cuts in their budgets and advocates have responded loudly. Over the last 5 months advocates have sent emails to every Member of Congress telling them about the importance of these programs. We are now at a critical moment. Congress must agree on a budget before December 11th to avoid a government shutdown.
The next couple of weeks are critical for the U.S. fight to end child labor.
The final decisions around funding for the federal government for the coming year are being made right now and we need your voices more than ever in the fight to restore funding to protect children from harmful and exploitative child labor. These decisions now rest with the highest levels of leadership in Congress and we need you to join us in contacting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in particular to let him know that we will not accept cuts to crucial programs that protect children. What might take you just 30 seconds, could mean all the difference in the life of a child!
Please use the following script to contact Senator McConnell (202-224-3135) :
I’m calling Senator McConnell to express my concern that the final appropriations package might not include critical funding at the Department of Labor that protects children. The International Labor Affairs Bureau is America’s largest program to prevent and respond to child labor and has helped protect 1.94 million children from the worst forms of child labor. Please tell Senator McConnell that he must quickly restore ILAB funding or tens of thousands of children will be soon put at risk of the worst abuses of the labor market. Thank you for taking my call and for passing my message along to the Senator.
[An important blog from CLC-member World Vision. A call to action appears further below]:
Action needed: An update from Cambodia on the fight against child labor.
We want to say thank you to our advocates. In addition to making phone calls and having meetings, you have sent over 15,000 emails to members of Congress asking that funding be restored to the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) for programs that help fight child labor. We are down to the eleventh hour for these programs — we now need your help to thank the champions as well as help remind key decision makers that these types of cuts will not go unnoticed.
You are the reason Congress is still talking about theses programs, the reason these cuts have not gone unheeded. Jessica Bousquette shares from her recent trip to Cambodia, where she saw the positive effects of ILAB programs to help prevent child labor first hand. Then we share the two things you can do — in less than two minutes — to continue the fight for these programs. Your two minutes could change the life of a child.
By Jessica Bousquette
Around the houses perched on stilts, green rice shoots swayed gently in the wind and cars raced up the dirt road. We sat on a blue tarp in a community near Siem Reap, a tourist hotspot in Cambodia famous for the World Heritage site Angkor Wat. As a toddler waddled between adults, I sat with a community group of about a dozen women and one man as they recounted how their life and their family’s lives had changed a result of being a part of a savings group.
The group has been working together for over a year to increase their savings through mutual support and accountability. With the savings, the group has been able to provide loans to members to expand their home businesses and agricultural productivity. When a member has an emergency, like an unexpected hospital visit, they can receive an emergency loan. This not only transforms their families’ access to income and nutrition, but also protects their children from hazardous labor. Oftentimes around the world, children end up working to pay off debts that arise when families cannot financially handle unexpected emergencies.
The US Department of Labor recently released an exciting new tool to help consumers figure out if the products they purchase are made with child labor or forced labor. The sheer size of the 2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor produced by the Bureau of International Affairs (ILAB) highlights the reality of this problem – the hard copy version of the report is over 1,000 pages long and weighs in at over eight pounds. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 168 million children globally are engaged in child labor, including 85 million in hazardous labor; 21 million people are trapped in forced labor, including 6 million children. Think of the DOL “Findings” report as a road map that tells us where children are working. It also includes vital information about how 140 countries are combating child labor.
On Wednesday 30th September ILAB launched their brand new app, ‘Sweat & Toil’ – now available from itunes and the App Store, which features the report data in a way that makes it much more accessible. The app enables an individual to search by country name or product. It includes a country specific review of the current laws and ratifications and the efforts by that country being made to eliminate child labor and assesses its progress. For example, a user can click on “Albania” and learn that the country made “moderate advancement” in dealing with child labor in 2014. By clicking on a statistics button, the user learns that 87.5 percent of child workers toil in agriculture in the country. A user who clicks on “Brazil,” learns that the country has 16 products produced with exploitative labor, including 13 with child labor and four with forced labor – one of which is beef.
Consumers purchasing a specific good can look it up to see if it is produced by child labor or forced labor – or both. Buying a bag of charcoal for your barbecue? The app would help consumers to know that production of charcoal involves child labor in Brazil and Uganda, and in Brazil it is produced with both forced labor and child labor. For consumers who care about the world and children who are exploited in global supply chains, this app could be addictive.
The broader aim is to empower the consumer to make intelligent decisions about the products we buy as well as persuade companies to examine their supply chains and identify where risks may be.
Let’s hope this user-friendly app, with its vast amount of current data on child labor and forced labor, will bring about a future where the consumer is highly conscientious and intentional in their consuming.
To download the app, search for “Sweat and Toil.” Readers can view online copies of the new updates of DOL child labor reports by clicking here.
Written by Contributing Writer Deborah Andrews and Reid Maki of the CLC staff.
U.S. Department of Labor Press Release/Wage and Hour Division [Oct. 16, 2012]
TEACHEY, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor has assessed a total of $12,400 in civil money penalties against poultry processor House of Raeford Farms Inc. following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found minors performing hazardous duties prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions.
“Employers who hire young workers must comply with all federal and state regulations intended to keep our youth safe on the job,” said Richard Blaylock, director of the division’s Raleigh District Office. “This situation is particularly disappointing because the company previously was cited for the same type of violation. It is critical for employers to learn about and comply with the child labor provisions of America’s labor laws.”
Investigators found that two minors, both age 17,were employed in the company’s deboning department, where they were required to operate an electric knife in violation of the FLSA’s Hazardous Occupation Order No. 10, which prohibits workers under the age of 18 from operating or cleaning powered meat processing equipment, including meat slicers.
In addition to paying the civil money penalties, the company has agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA’s child labor provisions.
House of Raeford Farms Inc. has processing facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana, including six fresh poultry processing plants and two further processing plants.
The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being. These rules must be followed unless a specific exemption applies. More information on child labor rules can be found at https://www.dol.gov/elaws/youth.html and information about hazardous occupations orders is available at https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs43.htm.
The division’s Raleigh office can be reached at 919-790-2742. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
CLC members—the Ramsay Merriam Fund, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association—made this web site possible through their generous support.
National Consumers League
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