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The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 215 million children in child labor worldwide, 115 million of them in hazardous forms of work. It also estimates that 21 million people are in forced labor, six million of them children.
By utilizing this toolkit, you have shown that your company is concerned about these grim statistics. You are interested in reducing the chance that your products—and the raw materials they come from—are manufactured, mined or harvested by children who should be in school, or by workers locked in sweatshops or forced into work through false promises or threats.
In order to effectively combat the risks of child labor and forced labor in your operations and global supply chains, you should have a comprehensive and transparent social compliance system in place. The goal of this toolkit is to assist companies that may not have such a system, as well as companies whose existing systems may need strengthening—particularly in the areas of child labor and forced labor.
There are eight steps to an effective social compliance system, as indicated by the illustration on this page. Before exploring these steps, however, it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the basics of a social compliance system.
This toolkit was created by the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB). ILAB’s mission is to use all available international channels to improve working conditions, raise living standards, protect workers' ability to exercise their rights, and address the workplace exploitation of children and other vulnerable populations. We have developed this toolkit to help businesses carry out their responsibilities to pursue these same goals, in particular with respect to child labor and forced labor.