US Department of Labor announces $5M funding opportunity to combat forced labor, child labor abuses in Malaysia
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today the availability of $5 million in grant funding to combat child and forced labor abuses in Malaysia’s palm oil and garment industries.
The world’s second largest producer of the palm oil, Malaysia exports much of it for use in products including cookies, crackers, soap and laundry detergent. On palm oil plantations, some operators subject workers to a form of debt bondage – where recruiters use unfair schemes to trap people in a job that pairs high recruitment fees and low wages – and exploit child labor while exposing workers to toxic chemicals, and other risks. Similarly, in Malaysia’s garment sector, migrant workers may work in abusive labor conditions and fall prey to deceptive recruiters who subject workers to debt bondage, illegal wage deductions and substandard living conditions.
Administered by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, this funding opportunity will support a project to assist Malaysian workers and civil society in their efforts to advocate for the elimination of forced labor and child labor in the palm oil and garments industries. This will strengthen the role of worker voice in employer initiatives to prevent and redress labor abuses in their business operations and supply chains.
ILAB works to address labor violations around the world. On June 23, the bureau released its updated list of goods produced by child labor and forced labor as required under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. ILAB also maintains a record on the findings on the worst forms of child labor worldwide.