| The Clinton/Gore Administration: New Efforts to Fight Sweatshops and |
| Child Labor Around the World & Put A More Human Face on the Global |
| Economy |
| January 16, 2001 |
TODAY SECRETARY SUMMERS, ALBRIGHT, HERMAN, & NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISOR
SPERLING WILL ANNOUNCE NEW ADMINISTRATION EFFORTS TO FIGHT SWEATSHOPS &
CHILD LABOR. As part of the Clinton/Gore Administration?s ongoing
commitment to the improvement of working standards around the world, the
Departments of Treasury and State will announce two new initiatives to
protect workers, children, and families from abusive and unfair labor
practices. These two new initiatives represent important milestones in the
President?s leadership on anti-child labor and sweatshop efforts, and will
help strengthen the kind of global partnerships among governments,
international organizations, and the private sector necessary to put a more
human face on the global economy.
THE CLINTON/GORE ADMINISTRATION WILL TODAY ANNOUNCE TODAY 2 KEY
? U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE ADVISORY ON FORCED CHILD LABOR. The Department of
Treasury and the U.S. Customs Service have prepared an Advisory on Forced
Child Labor to help importers, manufacturers, retailers, and other
businesses identify goods that may be produced with forced or indentured
child labor. The Advisory, developed in cooperation with the Advisory
Committee on International Child Labor Enforcement, will facilitate
voluntary compliance by describing the types of working conditions and
indicators that may signal the presence of forced or indentured child
labor. The Advisory will:
? Describe the types of working conditions that signal the presence of
forced or indentured child labor.
? Present two sets of indicators, ?red flags? and ?yellow flags,? that
importers and others can use in seeking to determine whether specific
merchandise is likely to be prohibited from importation on the grounds that
it was produced with forced or indentured child labor.
? DEPARTMENT OF STATE ANTI-SWEATSHOP INITIATIVE. The Department of State
will provide $3.9 million in grants to support private sector efforts to
eliminate abusive working conditions and protect the health, safety, and
rights of workers overseas. This new Anti-Sweatshop Initiative will
support innovative strategies to combat sweatshop conditions in overseas
factories that produce goods for the U.S. market. Five non-governmental
and international organizations received over $3 million, and the U.S.
Agency for International Development will administer an additional $600,000
for smaller grants in support of promising strategies to eliminate abusive
labor conditions worldwide. Today's grants were awarded to:
? Social Accountability International will receive $1 million to implement
its Social Accountability 8000 standard, which promotes human rights in the
? The American Center for International Labor Solidarity will be awarded
$962,801 to implement projects for the promotion of and adherence to labor
rights and standards in Central America and the Philippines.
? The Fair Labor Association, a coalition of apparel and footwear
manufacturers and consumer, human and labor rights groups, will be awarded
$750,000 to establish and maintain a roster of accredited external monitors
around the world.
? The International Labor Organization will receive $496,974 for research
on the management systems used by multinationals to assure compliance with
their company's labor standards.
? The International Labor Rights Fund's will be awarded $152,880
Anti-Sweatshop to raise awareness and promote viable solutions to sexual
harassment in the workplace.
PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS MADE AMERICA A LEADER IN WORKING TO PREVENT ABUSIVE
CHILD LABOR AND SWEATSHOPS AROUND THE WORLD. Under President Clinton?s
leadership, the United States has been the international leader in
advocating the improvement of working standards around the world including
efforts to fight sweatshops and abusive child labor. President Clinton?s
key actions include:
? Calling for the elimination of abusive child labor is his last three
State of the Union addresses and becoming the first U.S. President to
address the International Labor Organization (ILO) conference;
? Leading the global campaign in the adoption of ILO Convention 182 to
eliminate the worst forms of child labor;
? Making the U.S, the world?s largest contributor to the International
Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC), and since 1995, funding
projects to prevent or remove some 225,000 children in Africa, Asia and
Latin America from dangerous or abusive work in many, as well as
prostitution and domestic service.
? Bringing together a diverse group of manufacturers, consumer groups,
labor and rights organizations, and universities to form the Apparel
Industry Partnership, the precursor to the Fair Labor Organization ? a
coalition dedicated to ensuring that products purchased by American
consumers were not made in sweatshops overseas.
BUILDING ON THIS RECORD, THE CLINTON/GORE ADMINISTRATION HAS MORE
THANDOUBLED RESOURCES TO COMBAT ABUSIVE CHILD LABOR IN THE 2001 BUDGET:
? President Clinton has more than doubled funding from last year's level
of $45 million to $92 million in FY 2001 to help eliminate abusive child
labor around the world. This $92 million commitment includes:
? A 50% increase in the U.S. contribution to the ILO's International
Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) ? to $45 million.
? $37 million in new funding for targeted bilateral educational assistance
to promote school rather than work in countries where exploitative child
labor is prevalent.
? Doubling ? to $10 million ? Customs Service resources to enforce the ban
on the importation of goods made with forced or indentured child labor,
denying such products access to the lucrative U.S. marketplace.
THE PROBLEM OF ABUSIVE CHILD LABOR
? The ILO estimates that there are at least 250 million working children
between the ages of five and 14 in developing countries -- about half of
them work full-time and do not attend school.
? Tens of millions of children work under very hazardous and abusive
conditions. Around the world, young children in their formative years are
exposed to hazardous conditions, including toxic and carcinogenic
substances in manufacturing, dangerous conditions in mines and on sea
fishing platforms, and backbreaking physical labor.
? Some children labor in bondage, are sold into prostitution, or are
indentured to manufacturers, working against debts for wages so low that
they will never be repaid.
? The majority (61 percent) of the working children are found in Asia,
followed by Africa (32 percent), and Latin America and the Caribbean (seven
percent). While Asia, by far the most populous region, has the highest
number of child workers, Africa, the poorest region, has the highest
proportion of child workers, with 41 percent of its children engaged in
some form of economic activity.
DETAILS OF THE CUSTOMS ADVISORY ON FORCED CHILD LABOR
The Treasury Department and the U.S. Customs Service today announced the
issuance of an advisory intended to combat forced and indentured child
labor. The advisory is intended to help importers, manufacturers,
retailers, and other businesses involved in importing merchandise identify
goods that may be produced with forced or indentured child labor.
The Advisory, developed in cooperation with the Advisory Committee on
International Child Labor Enforcement, will help promote voluntary
compliance with child labor laws. The committee is comprised of industry
representatives and distinguished child labor experts from the human rights
and worker rights communities.
Abusive child labor is one of the most serious worker and human rights
issues facing the world trading community. Child labor is endemic in many
parts of the developing world; there are approximately 250 million child
workers worldwide. Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits
importing into the United States merchandise produced in whole or in part
with prison, forced, or indentured labor under penal sanction, including
forced or indentured child labor. The United States Customs Service is
responsible for enforcing this prohibition.
The Advisory describes the types of working conditions that may signal the
presence of forced or indentured child labor. It presents two sets of
indicators, ?red flags? and ?yellow flags,? that importers and others can
use in seeking to determine whether specific merchandise is likely to be
prohibited from importation on the grounds that it was produced with forced
or indentured child labor. The indicators track the kind of evidence that
the U.S. Customs Service considers in determining whether merchandise
should be excluded.
? ?Red flags? are factors that alone, or with other available information,
strongly imply that a supplier in a foreign country may be using forced or
indentured child labor, or sourcing from a facility that does so. Red
flags include slave labor conditions; employment to discharge a debt or
debt bond; financial penalties for absenteeism, production errors, refusal
to work overtime, or minor infractions, where such penalties eliminate
wages or credits already earned or create indebtedness that must be
discharged; physical or sexual abuse of child workers at the workplace; and
employment of very young children.
? ?Yellow flags? are working conditions or business practices that, while
not necessarily constituting direct evidence of forced or indentured child
labor, should create suspicion on the part of importers that unfair or
illegal labor practices, possibly including employment of forced or
indentured child workers, might be involved, and warrant further serious
inquiry and investigation. Yellow flags include work performed during
unusual hours, such as early morning or late at night, or when a child
could be expected to be in school; poor and unhealthy working environment;
violations of local laws and regulations; employment in hazardous
industries or under extreme conditions; missing or altered employment
records; and workers missing from operating workstations during on-site
visits. While the Advisory is not exhaustive, it represents U.S. Customs
best effort to provide useful advice to businesses on how to identify goods
that may have been made with forced or indentured child labor.
DETAILS OF DEPARTMENT OF STATE ANTI-SWEATSHOP GRANTS
Fair Labor Association - $750, 000
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a coalition of apparel and footwear
companies and human rights, labor rights and consumer advocates that
represents an innovative strategy to address violations of internationally
recognized labor rights in the apparel and footwear industries. The FLA
works with member companies to develop their own internal monitoring plans,
which in turn are reinforced and verified by a rigorous system of external
monitoring. The Anti-Sweatshop funds will be instrumental in enabling FLA
to recruit, accredit, and maintain a diverse roster of external monitors
around the world.
International Labor Organization ? $496,974
The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the
United Nations that works to improve labor conditions worldwide. Business
and labor representatives, as well as governments, participate in its work.
The ILO?s responsibilities include the adoption, promotion and supervised
application of formal international labor standards.
Using federal Anti-Sweatshop funds, the ILO will carry out a research
project involving several multinational enterprises at the corporate level
and their suppliers in developing countries. The research will examine
what types of management systems are used by multinational companies to
assure compliance with their company?s labor standards (and throughout the
company?s supply chain) and what is being done to correct labor conditions
that are found to be unsatisfactory.
International Labor Rights Fund - $152,880
The International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) is a non-profit action and
advocacy organization which uses innovative means to encourage enforcement
of international labor rights. The ILRF?s activities include research,
publications, legal advocacy, and consumer campaigns. ILRF achieves its
policy objectives through participation in NGOs and community based
coalitions or advocacy groups.
Sexual harassment is increasingly viewed as a form of violence against
women in the workplace. Using federal Anti-Sweatshop funds, the ILRF with
the help of its local partners will undertake a two-year project to promote
increased awareness of and viable remedies for the problem of sexual
Social Accountability International - $1,000,000
Social Accountability International (formerly the Council on Economic
Priorities Accreditation Agency) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization
dedicated to the development, implementation and oversight of voluntary
social accountability standards. The Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000)
standard promotes human rights in the workplace and is based on
internationally accepted United Nations and International Labor
SAI will use federal Anti-Sweatshop funds for public education and
consultative projects related to the use of the SA8000 standard, research
on and testing of social auditing techniques for ensuring compliance with
SA8000, capacity building for trade unions, NGOs, and small- and
medium-sized enterprises to participate in audits and institutional
development and the promotion of multi-sector collaboration in social
American Center for International Labor Solidarity - $962,801
The American Center for International Labor Solidarity (Solidarity Center)
conducts programs abroad dedicated to the promotion of and adherence to
international labor rights and standards. Working through trade unions and
other indigenous organizations, the Solidarity Center?s programs help
facilitate dialogue among business, labor and government leaders to address
workplace conditions and the development and improvement of legal
frameworks, institutions and practices for the enforcement of
internationally recognized worker rights. Using federal Anti-Sweatshop
funds, the Solidarity Center will implement projects in both Central
American and the Philippines.
The Central American project, utilizing educational programs and union
capacity building pilot projects, will work to improve the rule of law
through technical assistance programs provided to workers, government
official and academics. The Philippines project will provide the unions
and NGOs with tools to make codes of conduct more effective through the
construction of verification systems. This project will also enable unions
to deepen their engagement with International Financial Institutions (IFI)
in order to ensure that IFI programs produce jobs where workers labor in
conditions of dignity.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) - $600,000
Programs administered through the ?Civil Society Strengthening Program? in
the USAID?s Global Bureau Center for Democracy and Governance are designed
to advance democratic processes worldwide including the promotion of worker
rights and the elimination of sweatshop labor.
Federal Anti-Sweatshop funds will be used to support a cooperative
agreement that will provide small grants of between $25,000 and $150,000 to
support promising efforts in the field aimed at eliminating abusive labor
conditions in factories overseas producing goods for the U.S. market.
These Anti-Sweatshop efforts will complement and support other initiatives
developed by indigenous NGOs, trade unions, private and public sector
enterprises and governments.