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News Release

Labor Department Issues Report on Child Labor in Trade
Beneficiary Countries

Report Specified Under the Trade and Development Act

WASHINGTON—The Labor Department today released its second annual report on the worst forms of child labor in 146 countries and territories that receive U.S. trade benefits.

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao noted in announcing the report, “The United States supports free trade and believes that all people can and should benefit from its enormous opportunities. Countries that enjoy the benefits of free trade and greater economic opportunities have the responsibility to assure fundamental freedoms and human rights. Allowing the practice of child labor to exist is inconsistent with the opportunities befitting an enlightened nation. The United States will continue its efforts around the world to eliminate such exploitation.”

The department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs prepared The Department of Labor’s 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor in response to a child labor reporting requirement under the Trade and Development Act of 2000. Under this act, trade beneficiary countries and territories are required to implement their international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. As defined by International Labor Organization Convention 182, the worst forms of child labor are any form of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as forced or indentured child labor, the trafficking of children and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; child prostitution and pornography; the use of children in illicit activities such as drug trafficking; and work that is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. The report presents information on the nature and extent of the problem in each of these 146 countries and territories and the efforts being made by their governments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

The bureau’s International Child Labor Program collected data from a wide variety of sources, including the State Department, U.S. Embassies and Consulates, foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations and international agencies. In addition, bureau staff conducted field visits to many of the countries covered in the report.

The report is available at Beginning June 13th, a limited number of printed copies of the report will be available from the International Child Labor Program, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-5307, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-4843; Fax (202) 693-4830; E-mail:

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

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
June 2, 2003