DOL to Host May 28 Hearing on Worldwide Child Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor will hold a public hearing May 28 to collect information on the use of child labor and forced labor worldwide in the production of goods. The hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the department's headquarters, 200 Constitution Ave. NW in Washington, D.C. Attendance requests are being accepted from all interested parties.

To register to attend the hearing, contact Leyla Strotkamp in the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-5307, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210; phone 202-693-4813; fax 202-693-4830; e-mail strotkamp.leyla@dol.gov. The registration deadline is May 14.

The International Labour Organization has long worked to eliminate child labor. It convened a meeting of experts April 1-10 to discuss several labor topics, including how to obtain accurate child labor statistics. A resulting "Report 1 - Child Labour Satistics" will be submitted to ILO at the organization's 18th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 24 - Dec. 5, 2008) for the proposal of a standard. Draft resolutions contained in the report call for "standards of good practice for the collection, compilation and analysis of child labour statistics as guidance for countries to update their existing statistical system in this field, or to establish a new one." According to the report, the resulting data collection systems should "supply quantitative information on the number of working children in the country, their geographical distribution, age and sex, working conditions and other relevant variables."

The report adds, "International labour standards on child labour, especially on minimum age to work, provide guidance to national legislation and allow for flexibility and exceptions to general prohibitions of child labour. As such, there can be no uniform definition of child labour for universal application across countries. Therefore, while national statistical offices are required to mould the criteria for data collection on child labour and working children as closely as possible to the prevailing national laws and regulations, it should be useful if such data may allow further compilation and are sufficiently disaggregated to also facilitate international comparability." To download a PDF version of the report, click here.

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