WASHINGTON — Children still mine for gold and diamonds, weave carpets, sew clothing and footwear, pick cotton and work in leather tanneries in countries receiving U.S. trade benefits, according to a newly released U.S. Department of Labor report.
The 500-page report details the “worst forms” of child labor in 146 trade beneficiary countries and territories, ranging from “hazardous” jobs such as construction to apparel, textile and footwear production to bonded labor, drug trafficking and prostitution.
Compiled as part of a requirement under the Trade & Development Act of 2000, the report gives country profiles on the percentage of estimated child labor in each country, as well as the ongoing efforts to eliminate it. It does not offer any measurement of whether a country has improved or worsened its child labor record.
In 2000, the International Labour Organization estimated that 211 million children between the ages of five and 14 were working around the world, according to the report.
Congress appropriated $45 million and earmarked it for the ILO in the fiscal year that ends in September and also gave an additional $37 million to the DOL’s child labor education initiatives for fiscal year 2003 and 2004, according to a labor official who requested anonymity.
At least six of the DOL’s child labor projects from 1995 to 2002 have included efforts to reduce abuse in footwear, apparel and textile production.
At least 20 countries abuse child labor in the production of one or more of the following: textiles (including cotton harvesting and leather tanning), apparel, jewelry (gold and diamond mining) and footwear, according to the report. They include Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Chile, the Ivory Coast, Croatia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Mali, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Swaziland, Turkey, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
“We note in the introduction to the report there has been an increase in awareness about child labor, especially the worst forms, since 1999,” said a labor official who requested anonymity. “We are also encouraged to note the commitment to eliminating the worst forms of child labor seems to be gaining momentum.”
But the official also acknowledged there are many barriers to implementation, including poverty, and a lack of financial resources makes governments more hesitant to enforce laws or implement programs.“While the increase in ratification of ILO conventions and the strengthening of labor laws are promising, there remain significant gaps in many governments’ ability to implement their commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor,” the report states.
Linda Golodner, president of the National Consumers’ League, which formed the Coalition on Child Labor 10 years ago, said, “The fact that the DOL does a report like this puts countries on notice to look at incidents of child labor. If these reports weren’t done, it could mean business as usual in a lot of these countries.”
Despite these ongoing programs, some labor and human rights groups claim the Bush administration is backing away from the Clinton administration’s efforts to tie labor provisions to trade benefits in free-trade agreements. As a case in point, the U.S. recently wrapped up a controversial bilateral textile agreement with Vietnam and did not tie trade preferences to labor improvements.
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao has maintained that trade agreements that contain sanctions to enforce labor and environmental provisions are ineffective.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye