Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) release of two new reports and a proposed revision to an Executive Order that focus on the use of the worst forms of child labor across the globe. The reports contain lists of goods that the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) has reason to believe are produced by forced labor or child labor, products federal contractors must make a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to produce and findings on the incidence of child labor in certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries.
"With these reports, the Labor Department continues to shine the light on child labor around the globe," said Harkin. "These reports rank countries that are making strides to eliminate this forced labor and draw attention to products that may be made through child labor, which U.S. federal agencies should not procure. They are another tool in reaching our goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labor across the globe. I am pleased to join Secretary Solis in releasing these reports and I thank her and her dedicated team for their continued efforts to root out child labor wherever it exists."
Below are summaries of each report and links to more information.
Annual DOL Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (TDA Report) -- This report assesses and makes recommendations to 144 countries concerning their efforts to combat the worst forms of child labor. The assessment of each country in the report is new, highlighting whether a government has made significant, moderate, minimal or no advancement in their efforts against the worst forms of child labor. The report highlights findings on gaps in government efforts and includes country-specific suggestions for government action, provides specific analysis, as well as illustrates good practices and significant efforts many governments are making across the world to decrease child labor. More information can be found here: http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/2011TDA.pdf
DOL List of Goods Produced with Child Labor and Forced Labor (TVPRA List) -- This list focuses on countries/products being added to the list and recent efforts to address the problem. The report update added four new goods and three new countries, for totals of 134 goods from 74 countries on the TVPRA List in 2012. The list is not intended to be punitive. In many cases, the countries appearing most often on the list are those that have adopted an open approach to research and action on child and forced labor. The report commends the leadership of those countries in addressing these problems. More information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/2012TVPRA.pdf
List of Products Produced with Forced or Indentured Child Labor (EO List) -- The EO List, the Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor, requires federal contractors that supply product on the EO List to certify that they have made a good faith effort to ensure that forced or indentured child labor was not used in the production of goods. The EO 13126 is intended to ensure that federal agencies enforce laws relating to forced or indentured child labor. On September 26, ILAB published a new initial determination proposing to add four new products and three new countries to the EO List, for a total of 35 products from 26 countries. The Department of Labor will accept public comments for a period of 60 days, after which time it will revise the List as appropriate, in consultation and cooperation with the DHS and DOS. The April 2012 EO List remain in effect until a new final determination is issued. More information can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/EO2011-2012Bibliography.pdf
Since 1995, Senator Harkin has secured funding for the Department of Labor to support more than 250 projects to combat child labor in over 90 countries. As a result of this funding, approximately 1.5 million children have been rescued from child labor. Senator Harkin is a long-time champion of working to reduce the worst forms of child labor and has introduced several bills. He co-authored the Harkin-Engel Protocol to reduce the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sector.