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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice 1 INTRODUCTION Scope of Child and Forced Labor Globally, child labor and forced labor are widespread and complex problems. They are conceptually different phenomena, requiring different policy responses, though they may also overlap in practice. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), “In 2004 there were 218 million children trapped in child labour, of whom 126 million were in hazardous work.”1 More recently, but employing a different definition, UNICEF estimated that “there are 158 million children under the age of 15 who are trapped in child labour around the world.”2 Most child labor occurs in agriculture (69 percent), as compared with services (22 percent) and industry (9 percent).3 Child labor was most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Asia and the Pacific. According to the ILO, “The vast majority of child labour is found in the informal economy.”4 Box 1-1 provides a definition of child labor from the U.S Department of Labor.5 1 ILO. The End of Child Labour: Within Reach. Global Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, International Labour Conference, 95th Session 2006, Report I (B). Geneva: ILO, 2006. 2 Amy Bennett. “World Day against Child Labour highlights the right of every child to an education.” June 12, 2008. Available at: http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_44437.html (accessed May 18, 2009). 3 ILO, The End of Child Labour: Within Reach, pp. 7-8. “The agricultural sector comprises activities in agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing. The industry sector consists of mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction and public utilities (electricity, gas and water). The services sector includes wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels, transport, storage and communications, finance, insurance, real estate and business services, and community, social and personal services.” 4 Ibid. 5 The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) provides an alternate definition that should also be considered: “Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.” See http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang--en/index.htm (accessed September 25, 2009).
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice Box 1-1 Definition of Child Labor “‘Child labor’ under international standards means all work performed by a person below the age of 15. It also includes all work performed by a person below the age of 18 in the following practices: (A) All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale or trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom, or forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; (B) the use, procuring, or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic purposes; (C) the use, procuring, or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs; and (D) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children. The work referred to in subparagraph (D) is determined by the laws, regulations, or competent authority of the country involved, after consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned, and taking into consideration relevant international standards. This definition will not apply to work specifically authorized by national laws, including work done by children in schools for general, vocational or technical education or in other training institutions, where such work is carried out in accordance with international standards under conditions prescribed by the competent authority, and does not prejudice children’s attendance in school or their capacity to benefit from the instruction received.” Department of Labor, Office of the Secretary. Notice of Procedural Guidelines for the Development and Maintenance of the List of Goods From Countries Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor; Request for Information. Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 247 / Thursday, December 27, 2007, p. 73378. Forced labor is also a concern.6 According to the ILO, “Forced labour is present in some form on all continents, in almost all countries, and in every kind of economy.”7 According to the most recent ILO estimates available (2005): “Today, at least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Of these, 9.8 million are exploited by private agents, including more than 2.4 million in forced labour as a result of human trafficking. Another 2.5 million are forced to work by governments or by rebel military groups.”8 Using a different definition, Free the Slaves has estimated that there are currently 27 million people in slavery.9 6 For a general discussion of forced labor, see for example “Forced Labor in the Global Economy: A Report of Discussions,” Program on Human Rights and Justice, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 14, 2005, available at: http://web.mit.edu/cis/pdf/Forced_Labor.pdf (accessed September 28, 2009). Kevin Bales. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004. Kevin Bales. Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005. See also the websites of Free the Slaves at http://www.freetheslaves.net/Page.aspx?pid=183 (accessed September 28, 2009) and the ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour at http://www.ilo.org/sapfl/lang--en/index.htm (accessed September 28, 2009). 7 ILO. Eradication of Forced Labour—General Survey Concerning the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105). Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Report III (Part Ib), ILC, 96th Session, Geneva, 2007. 8 ILO, A Global Alliance Against Forced Labour. Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. ILC, 93rd Session, Report I (B). Geneva: ILO, 2005, p. 10.
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice Box 1-2 Definition of Forced Labor “‘Forced labor’ under international standards means all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily, and includes indentured labor. ‘Forced labor’ includes work provided or obtained by force, fraud, or coercion, including: (1) By threats of serious harm to, or physical restraint against any person; (2) by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if the person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or (3) by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or the legal process. For purposes of this definition, forced labor does not include work specifically authorized by national laws where such work is carried out in accordance with conditions prescribed by the competent authority, including: any work or service required by compulsory military service laws for work of a purely military character; work or service which forms part of the normal civic obligations of the citizens of a fully self-governing country; work or service exacted from any person as a consequence of a conviction in a court of law, provided that the said work or service is carried out under the supervision and control of a public authority and that the said person is not hired to or placed at the disposal of private individuals, companies or associations; work or service required in cases of emergency, such as in the event of war or of a calamity or threatened calamity, fire, flood, famine, earthquake, violent epidemic or epizootic diseases, invasion by animal, insect or vegetable pests, and in general any circumstance that would endanger the existence or the well-being of the whole or part of the population; and minor communal services of a kind which, being performed by the members of the community in the direct interest of the said community, can therefore be considered as normal civic obligations incumbent upon the members of the community, provided that the members of the community or their direct representatives have the right to be consulted in regard to the need for such services.” Department of Labor, Office of the Secretary. Notice of Procedural Guidelines for the Development and Maintenance of the List of Goods From Countries Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor; Request for Information. Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 247 / Thursday, December 27, 2007, p. 73378. Child or forced labor may exist in the supply chains of companies and thus in the production of imports to the United States. As one ILO report notes, forced labor can exist in several ways: First, there are the widespread problems affecting small industries, sometimes in remote areas, in developing countries. These are long-standing concerns of the largely informal economy, as in the brick kilns or small garment factories of such South Asian countries as India and Pakistan, which are likely to include deeply 9 See Free the Slaves, “What’s the Story,” available at: http://www.freetheslaves.net/Page.aspx?pid=301 (accessed May 18, 2009).
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice embedded practices of bonded labour… Second, there are the industries which appear to be at risk of forced labour practices within individual developing countries, mainly because of the nature of recruitment practices. There is a very clear risk of forced labour through debt bondage, when temporary workers are recruited through informal and unlicensed intermediaries who entice their recruits through the payment of advances, and then make their profits through a series of inflated charges. In Latin America, forced labour has been detected in a range of industries, some of them export oriented… Third, there are the problems facing multinational enterprises (MNEs) which outsource their production to companies operating in developing countries. This may be an extension of the first issue, given that the goods widely produced under forced and child labour conditions in the small garment and other factories in the developing countries can penetrate the supply chain of MNEs… Fourth, there are the potential problems facing all companies, in developed and developing countries alike, which engage contract labour through different kinds of employment or recruitment agencies.”10 Child labor could be viewed similarly. There are also many media reports of examples of child or forced labor occurring in specific situations. Legislative Context The federal government has enacted laws to reduce the use of child and forced labor in the production of goods consumed in the United States.11 The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) had as its purpose: “To combat trafficking in persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.”12 The Act was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008. The 2003 reauthorization established a research agenda on domestic and international trafficking in persons, including such topics as the economic causes and consequences of trafficking in persons; the effectiveness of programs and initiatives funded or administered by federal agencies to prevent trafficking in persons and to protect and assist victims of trafficking; and the interrelationship between trafficking in persons and global health risks. The 2005 reauthorization added a section to the Act entitled “Additional activities to monitor and combat forced labor and child labor.” Specifically: Section 105(b)(1) of the Act directed the Secretary of Labor, acting through the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, to “carry out additional activities to monitor and combat forced labor and child labor in foreign countries.” Section 105(b)(2) listed these activities as: Monitor the use of forced labor and child labor in violation of international standards; 10 ILO, The Cost of Coercion. Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. ILC, 98th Session, Report I(B). Geneva: ILO, 2009, pp. 51-52. 11 Several examples are found in the presentation by U.S. Department of Labor staff summarized in the next chapter. 12 Public Law 106–386, October 28, 2000.
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice Provide information regarding trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced labor to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking of the Department of State for inclusion in [the] trafficking in persons report required by Section 110(b) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107(b)); Develop and make available to the public a list of goods from countries that the Bureau of International Labor Affairs has reason to believe are produced by forced labor or child labor in violation of international standards; Work with persons who are involved in the production of goods on the list described in subparagraph (C) to create a standard set of practices that will reduce the likelihood that such persons will produce goods using the labor described in such subparagraph; and to consult with other departments and agencies of the United States Government to reduce forced and child labor internationally and ensure that products made by forced labor and child labor in violation of international standards are not imported into the United States. In the 2008 reauthorization, Section 110 of the Law requires the Department of Labor to produce a report that details a list of goods produced with child or forced labor: Final Report; Public Availability of List; not later than January 15, 2010, the Secretary of Labor shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a final report that describes the implementation of section 105(b) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (22 U.S.C. 7103(b)); and includes an initial list of goods described in paragraph (2)(C) of such section; and make the list of goods described in paragraph (1)(B) available to the public.13 Planning the Workshop Motivated by Section 105(b)(2)(D) in the 2005 reauthorization, which directed the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) to create a standard set of practices that will reduce the likelihood that such persons will produce goods using child and forced labor, ILAB contracted with the National Research Council (NRC) to organize a workshop that would take the first steps in developing a framework for organizing a standard set of practices. The NRC organized a planning committee (Appendix A) for this workshop that was guided by the following charge: An ad hoc committee will convene a public workshop on practices to reduce the use of forced or child labor in the production of goods. In preparation for the workshop, which will feature invited presentations and discussions, the committee will oversee the collection of illustrative examples of such practices. Using this and other information provided at the workshop, participants will discuss the elements of a possible framework for identifying and organizing a standard set of practices that will reduce the likelihood that persons will use forced labor or child labor to produce goods, with a 13 Public Law No: 110-457
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice focus on business and governmental practices. An individually-authored summary of the workshop will be produced, including examples of some of the business and government practices discussed. Through one meeting held in Washington, DC, and several teleconferences, the planning committee developed an agenda for the workshop, including suggested presenters and invited audience members, and a draft framework designed to stimulate discussion. The planning committee conceptualized the draft framework for identifying and organizing a standard set of practices as consisting of two parts that were summarized in two brief documents made available at the workshop: a description of the context in which such practices could be made (and which could affect those practices), and a list of criteria that could be used to filter from among the many business practices those that were particularly noteworthy, considering partnerships with other businesses, associations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments. The committee believed that understanding the context of a practice is important. The criteria used to assess a practice may vary with the type of practice, the sector, or the national, cultural, or socioeconomic environment, suggesting many different criteria would be needed. However, for purposes of drafting a set of criteria that could stimulate discussion, the planning committee developed a parsimonious set of criteria that could be used to judge many different types of business practices. These draft criteria are presented in chapter five of the report. The purpose of the draft framework, incorporating a discussion of context and criteria, was to stimulate a debate on what makes good or effective practices. As the ILO has noted: Good practices provide a means of being able to learn from and to apply experiences of others. Otherwise, one may devote considerable effort in “reinventing the wheel” or in repeating mistakes that others already have made. Good practices can be used most appropriately to stimulate thinking and to suggest ideas for consideration. It is not expected that good practices necessarily should be copied from one setting to another. The context can vary across settings, and thus even highly successful interventions may not “travel” well. At the least, however, these can provide “food for thought” and ideas about possible adaptations. The more that a similar approach has been tried and shown to work in multiple and varied settings, the more likely that it might also apply in some respect elsewhere as well.14 The committee, in planning the workshop, did not see the framework as necessarily identifying “best practices,” which seemed premature at this juncture, but rather “illustrative practices.” Further, the committee took a broad view of what could be included in the notion of practices. Practices “can include policy, planning and research activities, legislation, programmes and projects, as well as ‘on-the-ground’ delivery of programmes.”15 Examples of practices include: awareness-raising activities, policy development, implementation, monitoring, and forging partnerships.16 14 B. Perrin, Combating child labour: sample good practices guidelines. Geneva: ILO, October 2003. p. 1 15 Ibid., p. 2. 16 IFC, Addressing child labor in the workplace and supply chain, good practice note, June 2002, Number 1, available at: http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/enviro.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/p_ChildLabor/$FILE/ChildLabor.pdf. Accessed May 28, 2009.
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice In developing the workshop agenda, however, the committee did focus on practices that businesses could adopt to prevent, reduce, or remediate instances of child or forced labor. While businesses should certainly partner with other actors as appropriate, the committee did not seek to include important practices that were primarily taken by others, such as awareness-raising campaigns or litigation by NGOs; guidance offered by the ILO; labor inspections; or national legislation by governments. The activities of other actors, such as NGOs, are often critical to addressing child and forced labor and the relative responsibility of these actors are today the subject of intense debate, but they were outside the scope of this particular project. The workshop and the draft documents presented at the event by the committee were not seen as in any way comprehensive or final products of the committee or the NRC but rather as a way to start a conversation that would be helpful to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in its work. The committee understood that DOL was beginning a process of collecting information and organizing the compendium of practices and that this workshop was only an initial step in that process. The committee intended the workshop and this summary report to fit into that broader effort, rather than offer any final conclusions or pronouncements. The committee felt that since committee members, presenters, international labor standards scholars, and other audience members present a range of different and sometimes conflicting ideas about what works, how to organize practices, and other issues it was premature to offer a single approach to identifying more effective business practices. The planning committee also felt that with experts on all sides present, there would be a lively discussion of the draft criteria. Presenters with experience in and divergent views on the topic of corporate social responsibility and child or forced labor were invited to speak to the draft criteria. They were asked either to explore the usefulness of the criteria by presenting a single case study of a business practice designed to reduce the use of child or forced labor in the supply chain or to explore more deeply the nuances, challenges, and limitations of one element of the criteria by comparing multiple case studies. To facilitate a greater exchange of information, invitations were sent to potential audience members both to attend the workshop and to submit comments or criticisms of a set of draft criteria regardless of whether the individuals were able to attend. Comments received are reproduced in Appendix G. The workshop was held on May 11-12, 2009. (Please see Appendix B for the final agenda; Appendix C for speaker biographies; and Appendix D for a list of participants.) In the following pages a summary of the presentations and discussions that took place is presented. Chapter 2 focuses on the scope of the workshop and includes two presentations: welcoming remarks by the planning committee chair, Susan Berkowitz, and a presentation by staff of the DOL on the policy context of the workshop. In Chapter 3 the first half of the framework is discussed through a presentation and discussion of the importance and nature of the context in which practices are undertaken. Chapter 4 illustrates a series of business practices (both undertaken by businesses and businesses in broader partnerships). Chapter 5 presents the draft criteria—the second half of the framework—and provides extensive comment on how DOL should move forward in its development of the criteria the agency will use in its work. Because many presenters and audience members responded to the different presentations throughout the workshop—sometimes offering similar themes or critiques or asking similar questions,
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Approaches to Reducing the Use of Forced or Child Labor: Summary of a Workshop on Assessing Practice the material in the workshop has been grouped into these three main categories—context, business practices, and draft criteria—rather than summarized chronologically as they occurred during the workshop. Chapter 6, the concluding chapter, presents a “wrap up” of the workshop in which planning committee members offered their thoughts on the main themes of the workshop.