International Technical Cooperation
Child Labor Programs
Since 1995, the U.S. Congress has appropriated over $770 million to DOL’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) for efforts to combat exploitive child labor internationally. This funding has been used by the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking to support technical cooperation projects to combat exploitive child labor in more than 80 countries around the world. To date, DOL-funded child labor elimination projects have rescued some 1.38 million children from exploitive child labor.
Technical cooperation projects funded by DOL range from targeted action programs in specific sectors of work to more comprehensive programs that support national efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor as defined by ILO Convention 182. DOL-funded projects seek to achieve five major goals:
- Withdrawing or preventing children from involvement in exploitive child labor through the provision of direct educational services, including training services;
- Strengthening policies on child labor and education, the capacity of national institutions to combat child labor, and formal and transitional education systems that encourage children engaged in or at-risk of engaging in exploitive labor to attend school;
- Raising awareness of the importance of education for all children and mobilize a wide array of actors to improve and expand education infrastructures;
- Supporting research and the collection of reliable data on child labor; and
- Ensuring the long-term sustainability of these efforts.
By increasing access to education, DOL-funded projects help nurture the development, health, safety, and enhanced future employability of children engaged in or at-risk of entering exploitive labor in geographic areas or economic sectors with a high incidence of exploitive child labor.
OCFT funds technical assistance projects in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In addition, OCFT has funded several domestic and global projects. For additional information regarding OCFT technical assistance projects, please refer to ILAB's map page where users may navigate to regions and countries of interest.
OCFT grantees include international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and for-profit corporations.
Since fiscal year 1995, the Congress has appropriated $410 million to ILAB to support the International Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC) for technical cooperation projects to eliminate exploitive child labor around the world. These funds are used to support a wide range of child labor projects and activities in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as global research projects.
In 2001, OCFT launched the Child Labor Education Initiative (EI) to support international efforts to eliminate exploitive child labor through the provision of educational services. Since fiscal year 2001, Congress has appropriated a total of $249 million to ILAB for this program. In fiscal year 2007, the Congress appropriated an additional $60 million to ILAB for new programs to combat exploitive child labor around the world. DOL has awarded a majority of its EI and fiscal year 2007 funding through a competitive process, funding some 60 international and non-governmental organizations and for-profit corporations. This funding has been used to strengthen DOL's existing child labor elimination strategies and complement ongoing international and national efforts to reduce child labor by providing resources to get child laborers into schools or education programs and keep them there.
OCFT also oversees a number of technical cooperation projects addressing the issues of forced labor and human trafficking. These technical cooperation projects focus on the general population and not specifically on children.