The ILO also estimates that 25 million people are trapped in forced labor, including over 4 million children. Children and adults are forced to climb into mine shafts in search of diamonds and gold; are coerced, deceived, and confined on fishing vessels by unscrupulous labor recruiters; and are trapped in bonded labor while toiling in the extreme heat of brick kilns.
The mission of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the United States and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards, and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.
With 25 years of experience, the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT) in USDOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) is a world leader in the fight to eradicate these labor abuses. ILAB’s toolbox of approaches for combating child labor and forced labor includes international research, policy engagement, and technical cooperation. Examples of ILAB’s use of these approaches include the following:
- Demonstrated commitment and leadership in the worldwide movement to end child labor, which has contributed to the global reduction of 94 million fewer child laborers over the last 17 years.
- In-depth research on child labor and forced labor in over 150 countries around the world, including individual country roadmaps for a world free of child and forced labor, to monitor and enforce labor provisions of trade agreements and preference programs.
- Partnerships with more than 95 governments and 80 organizations to strengthen legal frameworks, enforcement actions, and policies and programs to end child labor and forced labor.
- Engagement with businesses and trade associations on social compliance tools, such as ILAB’s ComplyChain, to raise awareness of risks and highlight remediation practices to ensure that child labor and forced labor are not in global supply chains.
- Technical cooperation initiatives and projects that have made a difference in the lives of close to 2 million children and approximately 185,000 families through the provision of education and livelihood support.