Childhood is a time that should be spent in classrooms and on playgrounds, but for 215 million children around the world, it is a time spent working, often in dangerous and deplorable conditions. And while reports indicate that child labor continues to decline, much work remains to be done.
I applaud my Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, who has helped increase our efforts to address child labor abroad and here at home. My Administration is committing $60 million this year to support efforts to reduce child labor around the world. The Department of Labor has also taken steps to improve protections for child workers in the United States, and we have dramatically increased our child labor law enforcement efforts. And this week the Department of State and the Department of Labor jointly hosted a conference on child labor that demonstrated our intention to take a whole of government approach to this issue. Participants from multiple federal agencies and the National Security Council, alongside NGOs and multilateral organizations, all reaffirmed a commitment to take action against child labor in the year ahead. We must address the root causes of child labor by ensuring access to education for all children and helping families to secure sustainable livelihoods and to overcome the poverty that contributes to child labor. On this World Day Against Child Labor, all of us must recommit ourselves to creating a world where our children have a brighter future, free of exploitive labor.