ILAB News Release: [02/16/2011]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Clarisse Young
Phone Number: (202) 693-8666 or x5051
Release Number: 11-0176-NAT
US Department of Labor presents Iqbal Masih Award to Liberian workers’ group for efforts to combat exploitive child labor
WASHINGTON Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has presented the 2010 Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor to the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia.
"This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union to combat the worst forms of child labor internationally," said Secretary Solis. "The group serves as a model to others, showing that progress is possible and worth the effort."
The Iqbal Masih Award was established by Congress to recognize the work of an individual, company, organization or national government to end the worst forms of child labor. The award reflects the spirit of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child enslaved at the age of four who escaped his servitude and became an outspoken advocate against child slavery. Tragically, in 1995 at the age of 13, Iqbal was killed in Pakistan.
In 2010, the Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public nominations for the award. The International Labor Rights Forum nominated the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union for successfully negotiating collective bargaining agreements with the Firestone Plantation in 2008 and 2010 that banned child labor while also improving the wages and working conditions of plantation workers.
Since 1995, the Labor Department has supported efforts to combat exploitive child labor internationally. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/ilab.