STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Protecting Workers, Children, and Families from Abusive and Unfair Labor Practices
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 16, 2001

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today, I am pleased to announce new initiatives that build on our
efforts to put a more human face on the global economy by protecting
workers, children, and families from abusive and unfair labor practices.
Around the world, tens of millions of children are deprived of their
childhood and subjected to the worst forms of child labor, slavery, forced
or compulsory labor, prostitution, pornography, and other kinds of harmful
and unsafe work.  At the same time, many millions of workers toil under
conditions that are deplorable and unacceptable. These Anti-Sweatshop
grants and the Customs Advisory on Forced and Indentured Child Labor
represent additional tools to help eliminate sweatshops and abusive child
labor across the globe.

     Over the last eight years, we have made the U.S. a leader in the
global fight to stamp out abusive labor practices and open the door to
education and opportunity.  I am proud that the U.S. was among the first
nations to ratify the International Labor Organization?s (ILO) Convention
182 for Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor.  With the support of
Senator Tom Harkin, we have increased our contributions to the ILO?s
International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor fifteen-fold from
$3 million in 1993 to $45 million today. We have doubled to $10 million
Customs Service resources to enforce the ban on the importation of goods
made with forced or indentured child labor. And last year, we passed a new
$37 million Department of Labor School Works program to strengthen
educational systems in developing countries, targeted to areas where
abusive child labor is prevalent.

     I would like to make a special note that one of the Anti-Sweatshop
grants being announced today is being awarded to the Fair Labor Association
(FLA), a diverse coalition of manufacturers, consumer groups, labor and
human rights organizations, and universities dedicated to ensuring that
products purchased by American consumers were not made in sweatshops
overseas.    The FLA grew out of the Apparel Industry Partnership, a
coalition we first brought together at the White House in 1996 to combat
sweatshop labor.  This pathbreaking partnership was given new energy and
vitality when Chuck Ruff agreed to be its first Chairman.  Chuck used his
unique leadership and coalition-building skills to give the FLA a
successful start.  While Chuck recently passed away, the significant
accomplishments of the FLA under his leadership will live on as one of his
many contributions to a better, fairer world.


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