The Child Labor Coalition (CLC), whose 34 member organizations fight exploitative child labor, has welcomed the report by the US Department of Labor (USDOL), ‘2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor’, which suggests significant progress is being made in the war to reduce child labor internationally.
“The report is another sign that good progress is being made in efforts to reduce child labor around the world,” said Sally Greenberg, co-chair of the CLC and executive director of the National Consumers League.
According to USDOL, nine percent of the countries assessed reported ‘significant advancement’ in their child labor responses, and half of the countries assessed experienced moderate advancement. Thirty six percent were judged to have made minimal or no advancement.
Greenberg said the numbers looked even better if you dug a little deeper. The 13 countries that USDOL said had made significant advancement were mostly ones that had battled substantial child labor problems; so advancement in those countries (Albania, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, and Uganda) was very encouraging.
However, CLC coordinator Reid Maki said it was still the case that 168 million children were trapped in exploitative child labor and another 85 million were involved in hazardous work.
USDOL does not grade the progress of the US in the report, which is mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000. It does however talk about the ‘US experience’ in two of the report’s thousand pages, acknowledging that there is child labor in the US, particularly in agriculture.