Project to Reduce Child Labor and Improve Working Conditions in Agriculture in the Dominican Republic (FORMITRA)
This project supports the Dominican government’s efforts to combat child labor and strengthen labor law enforcement while helping businesses prevent, detect, and eliminate labor abuses in the agriculture sector. Building off the commitment of the Ministry of Labor and of a growing number of businesses, the project helps promote supply chains free of exploitative labor and a fair playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world.
In the Dominican Republic, an estimated 304,000 children are engaged in child labor. Poverty and cycles of indebtedness drive parents to put their children to work. Many of these children face harsh working conditions that rob them of their childhoods. While the government has shown its commitment to tackling this problem by ratifying conventions, implementing initiatives and supporting vocational training programs and labor rights education activities for at-risk youth, gaps in resources and enforcement capacity remain. In addition, though many private companies are increasingly committed to establishing processes to monitor and improve labor law compliance, rooting out child labor from every branch of their supply chains remains a challenge.
The project leverages ILAB’s long history of engagement with the government of the Dominican Republic to direct attention and resources to significantly reduce child labor and improve labor law compliance in the agriculture sector. In support of the government’s national policies, the project works with the Ministry of Labor as it seeks to strengthen its labor inspection system and to improve labor law enforcement and working conditions.
The project also helps businesses adopt and implement social compliance systems that can prevent, detect, and eliminate labor abuses in their supply chains.
Through this work, the project seeks to ensure that children in agricultural areas have better access to education and vulnerable families have opportunities to seek better livelihoods. A key goal of the project is to ensure that children who have been withdrawn from child labor do not return to work due to economic necessity or lack of educational opportunities.
- The project designed a training program for labor inspectors to strengthen their labor inspection by increasing their knowledge on labor regulations, fundamental labor rights, safety and health at work, and investigative techniques.
- FORMITRA kicked off a "Launch your dart against child labor" campaign to raise awareness about child labor through radio spots, social networks, banners, posters, office supplies kit, and megaphone advertising in agricultural areas.
- The project designed a training program on child labor for government officials that has multiple modules covering: general aspects of child labor, child labor in different economic sectors, worst forms of child labor, mechanisms to address and prevent child labor, and the management of public policies against child labor.