On June 10, a day designated by the International Labor Organization as World Day Against Child Labor, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis led a panel discussion in Washington among employers representatives, unions, aid groups and other NGOs to discuss strategies to combat child labor in poorer countries.
Also leading the discussion were Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Christina Tchen, the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. This year marks the 10th anniversary of ILO Convention 182, which seeks to combat the worst forms of child labor. Sen. Harkin said that much progress has been made since then, but that nations “must keep a light focused on this [issue], to get kids out of the worst forms of child labor and into schools.”
USCIB Vice President Adam Greene reported on the results of a USCIB-sponsored workshop on child labor, held last February in Atlanta. He said main key conclusions included the need for all stakeholders to raise awareness of the issue, to work together and to focus on holistic solutions that address the root causes of child labor in the societies where it occurs.
Among the other business representatives who spoke at the event, Cindy Sawyer, director of work environment and workplace rights at The Coca-Cola Company, noted that her company has a firm policy prohibiting child labor in its supply chain. But “no one sector or actor” can solve the problem by itself, she said. “We need to bring together national and local governments, industry, and local groups” to help fight child labor.