FIGURE 3-1 Perspectives: Forced and child labor.

FIGURE 3-1 Perspectives: Forced and child labor.

Source: Susan Berkowitz, Chair, Planning Committee, Workshop Presentation, May 11, 2009

Second, it is important to consider migration and trafficking issues. Thea Lee, in her presentation, noted that with respect to forced labor it was important to consider how vulnerable migrant workers are to forced labor and trafficking. Her concern was that dealing with one particular forced labor situation (e.g., a brothel) could simply send the workers to another place without causing any positive effect.

Third, often one labor problem goes hand in hand with another, so it is important to consider the broader context of international labor standards, which include child and forced labor. Thea Lee emphasized this in her presentation, arguing that it is not possible to do a good job of evaluating child and forced labor or working to eliminate child and forced labor if you cannot also talk about freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and protections against discrimination. Toni Dembski suggested that “when you are dealing with child and forced labor issues, you are also going to have contractors who are bending the rules in other places.” Benjamin Smith from the ILO noted: “The inclusion of all of the fundamental principles and rights at work in multi-stakeholder initiatives and in efforts to clean up supply chains is really important as problems with the lack of freedom of association and collective bargaining or discrimination also contribute in a significant way to forced labor and child labor and vice versa. The interconnectedness of the fundamental principles and rights of work is reaffirmed in the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization1 and is something that is very important to keep in mind in looking at these systems.” Problems in one labor area could be an indicator of possible problems in child or forced labor. Dan Viederman suggested integrating investigations for child and forced labor with the other investigations being done, learning how one indicator for one problem might lead to other indicators.


Text of the Declaration available at: (accessed September 28, 2009).

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