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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ILAB News Release: [09/10/2009]
Contact Name: Clarisse Young
Phone Number: (202) 693-5051
Release Number: 09-1111-NAT

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on reports detailing international child labor and forced labor

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today released three reports on child labor and forced labor around the world. The reports, which can be downloaded at http://www.dol.gov/ilab include a list of 122 goods — from 58 countries — made using child labor and forced labor.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement:

"Child labor and forced labor are inexcusable abuses of human rights, and these reports show that they continue to be a problem in 21st century society. We must do everything in our power to end these shameful practices.

"While the United States is fundamentally opposed to the exploitation of any worker, the plight of children and adults working in forced labor is especially severe. These individuals are among the world's most vulnerable, and we have a moral duty to help and protect them.

"It is also important to note that these are global challenges. All countries — including the United States — face situations of labor abuses. Allowing such practices to persist impedes the development of decent employment that can support families both in the U.S. and abroad.

"I am pleased that many companies are already working to root out child labor and forced labor from their supply chains. The Department of Labor will continue to work with these firms to identify and disseminate best practices, including the adoption of robust monitoring systems.

"There is much we can do together to remedy this problem. The Labor Department's projects around the globe have helped rescue almost 1.3 million children from exploitive labor, offering them new hope through education and training. And, as I engage in a dialogue with my international counterparts, I will continue emphasizing the importance of eradicating forced labor and child labor. After all, ending such practices represents a global challenge, and international cooperation is essential in finding effective and lasting solutions.

"With the release of these reports, it is my strong hope that consumers, firms, governments, labor unions and other stakeholders will step up efforts to translate economic power into a force for good that ultimately eliminates abusive child labor and forced labor."