US bill aims to eliminate child labour
30 April 2010
A US bill aimed at eliminating the use of child labour may make things worse for poor families and their children.
A Consultative Group, established by the 2008 US Farm Bill, held a public meeting on 29 March to consider how to monitor child and forced labour. Executive Director, Marilyn Blaeser attended the meeting on behalf of ECLT and followed up with a written submission. ECLT’s submission makes the case that,
“ECLT would caution against removing a source of revenue for poor communities by restricting trade. Exporting agricultural produce enables poor producers to lift themselves out of poverty through their own efforts, rather than relying on charity. Banning trade without addressing the underlying causes and drivers will only make things worse and will clearly lead to increased poverty and further hardship for children.
“ECLT’s experience shows that by addressing the underlying causes of child labour we can offer a sustainable way to reduce it. ECLT believes that monitoring and verification systems make sense provided they are part of an integrated approach that seeks to address the underlying causes of child labour in the supply chain. Integrated efforts, to address policy issues, create national and local capacity for action, ensure relevant investment in key areas such as education and training, are essential for making progress. It is important to tackle child labour as part of national and regional development strategies.
“Another more effective way for the United States to use its influence is through USAID. For example, all USAID‐funded projects could be expected to specifically address the elimination of child labour with clearly defined programmes that include measurable targets, especially in those geographical areas where child labour is prevalent.”