Today, 152 million children are exploited worldwide through the deplorable practice of child labor. Children as young as 4 years old are forced to scrub factory floors, fold garments in over-crowded textile mills, pick crops under the hot sun, and work other jobs unsuitable for their age or development.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) is working across the Administration and with stakeholders to advance efforts to end child labor.
As we observe World Day Against Child Labor, one important project to highlight ILAB’s work is coffee production. ILAB’s List of Goods, which identifies supply chains that violate international labor standards, found that 16 countries use child labor in the coffee production process. To end this abhorrent practice, we are working with partners to build coalitions of coffee buyers that support supply chains free of abusive child labor practices. In other countries, we are working with business associations to provide resources to families so that adults can support their families while children pursue an education.
One important part of the Trump Administration’s trade agenda is ensuring that trading partners do not profit from the use of child labor. When other countries fail to uphold their commitments on this issue, it is morally wrong and it harms American job creators and workers.
On World Day Against Child Labor, I hope you will join me in renewing our national commitment to ending child labor for good.
Martha Newton is the Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.