Child Labor? In MY Local Store? It's More Likely Than You Think

Was anything you own made with forced or child labor? It’s more likely than you think. Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor finally released a long-awaited report on the use of child labor or forced labor worldwide. The unsurprising result: Children and forced laborers work in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing worldwide.

The report was a requirement of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. In the introduction to the list of products and countries, the Department of Labor notes:

Buyers in today’s globally integrated marketplace face an array of choices when they shop. In addition to the usual price considerations, many consumers and buyers would like to weigh other factors before making purchasing decisions: Who produced this product? How, and under what conditions, was it produced? However, there is a huge gap in information available to consumers about the processes and labor practices that produce the goods in our markets.

The report does not include children and adults forced into underground work, such as the drug trade, prostitution, and the production of pornography. Still, the report is eye-opening, and something you may not be able to help thinking about when shopping for chocolate, tea, clothing, or Christmas decorations.

The report doesn’t name specific companies, which would have actually made it useful.

List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (TVPRA List) [U.S. Department of Labor]
Child, forced labor behind many products: study [Reuters] (Thanks, chaitea!)

(Photo: kI-Ga)