The Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs has released its annual report describing the efforts of 135 countries and territories to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, which is one of the criteria for eligibility for trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
This report provides information to governments on how best to combat labor abuses, including more than 1,700 country-specific recommended actions. In addition, companies use this report as an input into risk assessments and to conduct due diligence on their supply chains. To aid in this effort the DOL has released a new mobile application that provides companies with detailed guidance on how to develop robust social compliance systems that identify, rectify, and prevent labor abuses in the production of their goods.
The report tracks from year to year whether a country has made significant, moderate, minimal, or no advancement in eliminating the worst forms of child labor. For 2016, a record 23 countries (up from 16 the previous year) received an assessment of significant advancement. Eleven of these are the same as in 2015 (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, and Uganda) while 12 moved up from moderate advancement (Albania, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kosovo, Mali, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia, and Western Sahara). In addition, 13 countries improved their assessment level from minimal to moderate advancement (Bahrain, Bhutan, Botswana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Maldives, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Serbia, Zimbabwe) and seven were upgraded from no advancement to minimal advancement (British Virgin Islands; Montserrat; Norfolk Island; Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha; Tonga; Vanuatu; and Yemen).
On the other hand, five countries dropped from significant advancement to moderate advancement (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Jordan, and Montenegro) and 14 others were downgraded from moderate to minimal advancement (Bangladesh, Benin, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Iraq, Kiribati, Lesotho, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, and Uruguay).