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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Bureau of International Labor Affairs

ILAB Press Release: International Child Labor Activist Visits Labor Department [05/01/1996]

For more information call: (301) 774-2432

The Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) hosted Craig Kielberger, the twelve-year-old international child labor activist from Canada. Kielberger is in Washington this week to testify before Congress and to meet with a variety of government officials to discuss the problem of child labor around the world. Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs Jack Otero hosted the young man at the department.

In comments at a brief ILAB town hall meeting, Otero said, "I my more than 25 years in international affairs here at DOL and in the labor movement, I have met innumerable kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents. But I have never met anyone as engaging, warm and refreshing as Craig."

After testifying on the Hill, Kielberger visited Otero to discuss his travels in Asia inspecting abusive child labor situations and outlining his relief program, Free the Children. The program, started by Kielberger, seeks to focus attention on the issue and to promote government policies to counter the problem. In his native Canada, he has prompted the government to consider policy options to ban imports of goods made with child labor and to make it illegal for Canadians to travel abroad to engage in prostitution with children.

Kielberger also met with a number of department employees and described his travels and the conditions he found. He commended the employees for their efforts in producing the two Congressionally mandated reports on international child labor, By the Sweat and Toil of Children, volumes I and II. He also inspected the RUGMARK hand-knotted carpet bought at auction by the department employees. RUGMARK is an international inspection and licensing program for rug manufacturers which guarantees for consumers that the product was made without child labor. The employees pooled their money and bought the rug to support the program. They will donate the rug to the Labor Department to bring attention to the RUGMARK program.

Kielberger said he hopes to set up an American chapter of the Free the Children operation. Next year he plans to visit Haiti.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
May 1, 1996
Media Contact: David Roberts
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