For Immediate Release
US Falls Short of Compliance with International Convention on Child Labor
WASHINGTON - 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,
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dangerously out of date.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
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
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/
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