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Bureau of International Labor Affairs
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Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and poverty. According to the United Nations, approximately 15 percent of the global population has a disability. Individuals with disabilities face obstacles to employment and education and have higher rates of unemployment, often two or more times the rates of their counterparts without disabilities.

Child laborers can acquire disabilities performing hazardous work. Children with disabilities and those who have caregivers with disabilities are often sent to work and not school.  Those who do attend school are more likely than their peers without disabilities to leave prior to completion, diminishing their outlook for good jobs and wages in the future.

Our Strategy

ILAB engages in policy discussions and exchanges with other countries bilaterally, multilaterally, and through technical cooperation to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Our bureau takes part in bilateral dialogues, technical exchanges, and discussions in multilateral fora, such as APEC and the ILO, to share best practices in promoting the employment of persons with disabilities.

We fund projects which provide people affected by disabilities with education and vocational training, and access to livelihood opportunities. ILAB's technical assistance also supports governments in the development of relevant policies, laws, and social and educational programs.

In sharing expertise, designing technical assistance, and developing positions on issues related to disability internationally, ILAB draws on the expertise and good practices developed by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.


  • Strengthen the capacity of countries to promote the labor rights and livelihoods of persons with disabilities.
  • Support governments and civil society in identifying and removing barriers to the employment of persons with disabilities.
  • Improve the capacity of countries to protect children with disabilities from child labor and improve the livelihoods of their families.
  • Protect children and families affected by disabilities from exploitative labor and give them the skills and resources they need to secure good jobs.  

Further Resources