Background

The Department of Labor has awarded $22 million in new grant funding to promote labor law enforcement and support projects abroad to combat abusive labor practices, including the use of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. In addition, new technical assistance will support trade partners’ compliance with the labor requirements of U.S. trade agreements.

- $5 million to the International Labor Organization to strengthen the capacity of governments in Kenya and one other sub-Saharan African country, and $5 million to World Vision Inc. to strengthen the capacity of governments in the Philippines and one other country in Asia, to address child labor, forced labor, and violations of acceptable conditions of work and strengthen assistance services for victims of child labor and forced labor

- $5 million to Pact Inc. to economically empower vulnerable women and girls in the cut flowers and unrefined brown sugar supply chains in Colombia

- $4 million to Corporación Escuela Nacional Sindical to increase the ability of Colombian workers in the palm oil, sugar, mining, ports, and cut flowers sectors to better understand and be able to exercise their labor rights through assistance from worker-driven labor law enforcement centers and trainings

- $3 million to the ILO to increase the impact of rigorous research on forced labor in the garment sectors in Argentina and Mauritius

The DOL has also awarded $5 million to extend existing grants, including $3.5 million to the ILO/IFC Better Work program for projects to improve compliance with labor law and promote women’s empowerment in the apparel sectors of Haiti, Jordan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Separately, the DOL is providing up to $27.2 million in grant funding to help Mexico meet its labor obligations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, including the effective enforcement of its labor laws and addressing child and forced labor in its supply chains. Among other things, grant activities will focus on improving government implementation of labor reform in the Mexican automobile supply chain and reducing child labor in the production of agricultural goods traded with the U.S.

The U.S. government is also working to combat forced and child labor in other ways, announcing recently a new human trafficking strategy that includes steps to prevent and interdict the importation of goods made with such labor.

For more information on the trade-related impacts of forced labor, please contact trade consultant Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or trade attorney Elise Shibles at (415) 490-1403.

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