List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor
ILAB maintains a list of products and their source countries which it has a reasonable basis to believe are produced by forced or indentured child labor, pursuant to Executive Order 13126. This List is intended to ensure that U.S. federal agencies do not procure goods made by forced or indentured child labor. Under procurement regulations, federal contractors who supply products on the List must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labor was used to produce the items supplied.
The Department of Labor, in consultation with the Departments of State and Homeland Security, publishes and maintains the List. ILAB released its initial List in 2001, and has revised it several times since then. As of March 25, 2019, the EO List comprises 34 products from 25 countries.
The List is required by Executive Order 13126, "Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor." The procurement requirements related to products on the List are set out in a 2001 Federal Acquisition Regulation Final Rule.
ILAB develops the List using criteria and procedures established in its "Procedural Guidelines for the Maintenance of the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Labor."
There are reports that children as young as age five are forced to work in the production of carpets, often through a system of bonded labor. Based on reports from the ILO and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), as many as half a million children have been producing carpets under conditions of forced labor throughout the country. Children of migrants, refugees, and impoverished families are particularly vulnerable to this practice. Typical of the Pakistani “peshgis” system, children are often sent to work to pay off their family's debt. Families accept a loan in the form of advanced payment for a year of their child's work, and the child is prohibited from leaving the workplace until the debt is paid in full. The children live in the workplace, away from their families, and do not have the freedom to leave. Some children are forced to work without equipment to protect them from exposure to toxic chemicals and dust. The children are paid little, and deductions are taken from their wages for food and shelter. Some children are fined or beaten for any mistakes.
There are reports that children, especially boys, are abducted and forced to herd cattle in South Sudan. Hundreds of abductions have been reported, particularly in communities in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states. The children are abducted when rival tribes or ethnic groups enter communities to steal cattle, as well as during other inter-ethnic or inter-tribal disputes; some of these children are enslaved to herd cattle.
There are reports that children as young as age five are forced to work in coal mines in Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Northwest Frontier Province. Some of these children work as bonded labor; under this arrangement, which is typical of the Pakistani “peshgis” system, children work alongside, or in place of, other members of their indebted families. The children are forced to work without protective equipment. Their work involves blasting rocks with dynamite and digging to extract coal in deep narrow shafts below ground. The children are also forced to lead donkeys deep underground and lead them back out hauling the mined coal.
There are reports that children in Colombia as young as 11 years old are forced to cultivate and pick coca, and to scrape coca leaves. The Government, NGOs, media, and the ILO indicate that some children are forcibly recruited by non-state armed groups, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the National Liberation Army, and criminal groups to pick coca. Others are forced by drug traffickers. Criminal and illegal armed groups use threats of torture or death to prevent children from attempting to escape.
There are reports that children from within Côte d'Ivoire, as well as migrant children from Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo, are working under conditions of forced labor on Ivoirian cocoa farms. Based on the most recently available estimate from Tulane University, over 4,000 children work in conditions of forced labor in the production of cocoa in Côte d'Ivoire. Some children are sold by their parents to traffickers, some are kidnapped, and others migrate willingly but fall victim to traffickers who sell them to recruiters or farmers, where they end up in conditions of bonded labor. Some farmers buy the children and refuse to let them leave the farm until the debt of their purchase has been worked off. The children are frequently not paid for their work; some of their wages are paid to the recruiter or trafficker. These children are held against their will on isolated farms, are locked in their living quarters at night, and are threatened and beaten if they attempt to escape. They are punished by their employers with physical abuse. They are forced to work long hours, including overtime, and are required to work even when they are sick. Some children are denied sufficient food by their traffickers and employers. Some children are forced to perform dangerous tasks, including carrying heavy loads, using machetes and sharp tools, and applying pesticides and fertilizers.
There are reports that children are forced to produce cocoa in Nigeria. The ILO, media pieces, and an academic report indicate that children are trafficked across Nigeria and from Burkina Faso by intermediaries and recruiters to produce cocoa. Children from Cross River and Akwa Ibom states in southeastern Nigeria are particularly vulnerable. Some children are sold by their parents to recruiters. The recruiters are paid for their recruitment of the children; many children receive no pay for their work. Some children are forced to work long hours, including during the hottest hours of the day, leaving them at substantial risk for heat-related illness. The children are forced to perform dangerous tasks, such as using sharp tools, carrying heavy loads, and handling pesticides, without protective equipment.
There are reports that children ages 14-17 and younger in Côte d'Ivoire are forced to work on coffee plantations. Based on a research study, thousands of children are involved in this type of labor. Some children are forcibly recruited, or recruited through deceptive means, and transported to coffee plantations in Côte d'Ivoire from nearby countries including Benin, Mali, Togo, and Burkina Faso. These children are sold to traffickers. Other children leave their home countries or communities voluntarily, but end up in situations where they are not paid and have no means to return home. Some children are forced to work for three or four years before receiving payment or returning home. Others are forced to work, even if sick, and prevented from leaving the plantations through threat of physical violence, withheld payments, or denial of food.
There are reports that children ages 6-17 are forced to produce cotton in Benin. Cotton is grown primarily in the north, such as in Banikoara, and according to NGOs and international organizations, many of the children are trafficked or migrate to this area from other parts of the country, or from Burkina Faso or Togo. Some children are lured by traffickers with false promises about working conditions or terms. Some children work on year-long contracts and are not allowed to leave until the end of the year. They are paid only at the end of the contract, once the cotton is sold, but most children report that they do not receive their full payment, and some are not paid at all. Children usually live with their employer, and do not receive sufficient food.
There are reports of children ages 10-17 producing cotton under conditions of forced labor in Burkina Faso. According to an NGO report containing the most recently available data on the eastern region of the country, it is estimated that as many as 50 percent of all boys aged 10 and above migrate or are trafficked to work for a year; most work on cotton farms in Tapoa or Kompienga. Children are also trafficked from around the country to work on cotton farms in Houet and Tuy provinces. Some children are forced to sow, weed, and harvest the cotton in hazardous conditions; some work under threats of abuse or withholding of payment. They usually live with their employer, and do not receive sufficient food. These children are lured by recruiters or traffickers with false promises of payment or gifts such as a bicycle. The children work on 12 or 17 month contracts and are prohibited from leaving to return home until the end of the contract. They are paid only when the cotton is sold and they have completed their contract, but most report that they do not receive their full payment, and some receive no payment at all.
There are reports that children are forced to pick cotton in China. Reports from an NGO and the U.S. Government indicate that children in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and in Gansu province are mobilized through schools and required by provincial regulations to work during the autumn harvest. According to the most recently available estimates, between 40,000 and 1 million students are mobilized annually for the harvest, beginning as early as the third grade. Most children are paid little if at all, after deductions for meals, transportation, and payments to the school. These students are required to pick daily quotas of cotton or pay fines, and performance in the cotton harvest is assessed for the students' promotion to higher grade levels.