The Prohibition of Goods Produced by Child Labor No. 130
In many developing countries, children under 15 represent a substantial part of the work force. The International Labor Organization estimates that two hundred million children under 15 are working in dangerous industries such as glass, metal works, mining, weaving and textiles. Children under 15 constitute approximately 17 percent of the workforce in parts of Africa, 11 percent in certain Asian countries, and 12 to 26 percent in many countries in Latin America.
Children often begin working in factories at the age of 6 or 7 and frequently work 60-hour weeks for little, if any, pay. The working conditions in the various industries are deplorable. According to the I.L.O., many children working in bonded labor, such as in Pakistan, will never reach their 12th birthday as they often fall victim to disease and malnutrition.
When children are forced to work at such a young age, they are deprived of any opportunity for a basic education and their chance to realize their full potential is severely diminished. The cycle of poverty for the children working in factories is continually perpetuated. Child labor also adversely affects the lives of millions of adults who are denied any opportunity for gainful employment.
Despite the fact that existing laws in many countries prohibit the employment of children under 15 and that foreign governments and associations have initiated steps to deal with child labor laws, the number of children under 15 who are employed and the scale of their suffering continue to increase.
Principle 9 of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child states that "...the child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental, or moral development...". Principle 9 was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 20, 1959.
ADA believes in protecting children and investing in their future both at home and abroad. The United States should implement policy that does not allow imports into the country produced by child labor in violation of Principle 9. The U.S. must take a leadership role in helping Third World countries enforce their child labor laws.
# # #
Social and Domestic Policy Commission