Child Labor

There are no easy solutions to a problem as complex as child labor. Putting an end to this brutal practice requires action on many fronts by national governments, international agencies, and private organizations alike.

Progress is being made on a number of fronts. One of the most heartening international developments has been the rapid response to an international convention calling for immediate action to ban the worst forms of child labor. Adopted in 1999 by the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, Convention 182 has been ratified by more than 100 countries, including Cote d’Ivoire — making it the fastest-ratified convention in ILO history. Specifically, the convention asks nations to do whatever it takes — pass new laws, strictly monitor and enforce laws, plug leaky borders — in order to stop the trafficking and exploitation of children.

Industry, too, is joining the fight against exploitative child labor. The international cocoa and chocolate industry has launched the first large study of abusive child labor practices on 3,000 cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and has signed a protocol pledging to eliminate child slavery in the West African cocoa industry.

Report on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Department of Labor publishes an annual report mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 on efforts governments are taking to meet their international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, including the trafficking of children for exploitative labor and commercial sexual exploitation. The Trade and Development Act (TDA) added government efforts to address the worst forms of child labor to the list of criteria countries must fulfill to receive trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.