Reducing Child Labor and Forced Labor: A Toolkit for Responsible Business

U.S. Department of Labor - Washington, D.C.

The Department of Labor has created an online tool that will provide detailed, step-by-step, practical guidance to businesses and other stakeholders. This new toolkit shares the best practices for creating and sustaining effective social compliance systems. It is the first such guidance focused on child labor and forced labor practices.

This toolkit grew out of a congressional mandate under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005, which required the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to compile and publish a List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (available at: http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/programs/ocft/tvpra.htm). The law also mandated that DOL work with businesses and other stakeholders to develop and disseminate information on business practices that have been effective in reducing child labor and forced labor.

DOL conducted an exhaustive investigation of corporate social responsibility and ethical sourcing initiatives. It carefully reviewed materials ranging from academic literature to corporate case studies, integrating that information into a toolkit that is designed to be both comprehensive and easy to use.

The best practices examined include:

CODES OF CONDUCT: Examples of code provisions that aim to address specific child labor and forced labor challenges (e.g., migrant workers, subcontracting, home work)

STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT: The most successful and sustainable strategies for identifying and engaging key stakeholders. (e.g. joint advocacy directed at governments and cooperation in offering services to victims)

RISK ASSESSMENT: The most useful and accurate methods for discovering and tracking child or forced labor risks in supply chains (e.g., reliable and available data sources and techniques for gauging risk)

COMMUNICATION AND TRAINING: Examples of training or communication programs to raise awareness around child and forced labor among various stakeholder groups (e.g., suppliers, sub-tier suppliers)

AUDITING: Techniques that companies have found effective in auditing their own operations and those of supply chain partners (e.g., age verification, auditor skills for dealing with children and victim populations, inclusion of labor brokers/recruiters in audits)

REMEDIATION: Approaches that companies have found effective to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of children and/or forced labor victims (e.g., working with families, educational and other services)

INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION: Methods that companies have developed and implemented to ensure an independent assessment of their efforts, and those of supply chain partners, to combat child and forced labor

REPORTING: Methods and formats that companies have found useful for reporting on their auditing and verification programs, and broader efforts to address child and forced labor issues in supply chains.

In developing this new online resource, DOL/ILAB has solicited input from a range of stakeholders, including companies and industry groups, labor unions, non-governmental organizations, academic experts, and others. The toolkit is intended to serve as a practical resource in particular for companies that do not yet have detailed social compliance systems in place, but it should also provide useful guidance for those that already have such systems, as well as others interested in preventing child labor and forced labor in corporate supply chains.

For additional information, please contact Sarah Newsome at newsome.sarah@dol.gov.

View the Press Release.

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