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US Falls Short of Compliance with International Convention on Child Labor
WASHINGTON - June 1 - The US has failed to meet its obligations to implement International Labor Organization Convention (ILO) 182 related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor according to a new report released today by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF). As World Day against Child Labor approaches on June 12, the new report, "A Matter of Urgency: US Compliance with ILO Convention No. 182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor," explains how the US does not comply with the international convention and recommends steps for protecting child laborers in the US.
As one of the 169 countries that has signed and ratified ILO Convention No. 182, the US is required to prohibit employment of children in occupations that are likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children. However, US law related to child labor includes a number of exemptions that put child farm workers at risk of exploitation in violation of Convention 182. Additionally, the list of hazardous work activities maintained by the US Department of Labor is dangerously out of date. The report also found particularly weak enforcement of the regulations that do exist to protect working children in the agricultural sector.
Bama Athreya, Executive Director of ILRF, said, "If the United States is to be a leader in promoting labor rights and decent work globally, we must to ensure our own compliance with important international conventions like ILO Convention 182. It is critical that the US government improve our own laws and enforcement to end the exploitation of child workers within our borders."
The report recommends the swift passage of the Children's Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act) that, among other important provisions, would establish a minimum age and working hours standards for children working in agriculture equivalent to other sectors. ILRF also recommends rapid revision of the Department of Labor's Hazardous Occupation Orders in agriculture and for the passage of legislation protecting children employed on farms owned or operated by their parent or guardian.
The report builds on the findings of an extensive study conducted recently by Human Rights Watch about the abuses of child labor in US agriculture, Fields of Peril. In publishing the new report, ILRF has joined with a growing number of human rights, farmworker, labor, consumer and children's rights organizations in calling for passage of the CARE Act and additional measures to ensure the protection of children and all workers' rights.
The report can be
read online here: http://www.laborrights.org/