H.R.4506 - International Child Labor Relief Act of 1998105th Congress (1997-1998)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4] (Introduced 08/06/1998)|
|Committees:||House - International Relations|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 10/09/1998 Received in the Senate. (All Actions)|
This bill has the status Passed House
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Text: H.R.4506 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
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Engrossed in House (10/08/1998)
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.R. 4506 Engrossed in House (EH)] 2d Session H. R. 4506 _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To provide for United States support for developmental alternatives for underage child workers. 105th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 4506 _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To provide for United States support for developmental alternatives for underage child workers. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``International Child Labor Relief Act of 1998''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds the following: (1) Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes ``the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.''. (2) Article 2 of Convention 138 of the International Labor Organization, the Minimum Age Convention, states that the minimum age for admission to employment or work ``shall not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling and, in any case, shall not be less than 15 years.''. (3) Convention 29 of International Labor Organization, the Forced Labor Convention, which has been in effect since 1930, prohibits most forms of ``forced or compulsory labor'', including all forced labor by people under the age of 18. (4) Although it is among the most universally condemned of all human rights abuses, child labor is widely practiced. The International Labor Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have estimated the total number of child workers to be between 200,000,000 and 250,000,000. More than 95 percent of those child workers live in developing countries. (5) The International Labor Organization has estimated that 13.2 percent of all children 10 to 14 years of age around the world were economically active in 1995. According to UNICEF, 75 percent of the child laborers in the 10 to 14 age group work 6 days a week or more, and 50 percent work 9 hours a day or more. There are no reliable figures on workers under 10 years of age, though their numbers are known to be significant. Reliable child labor statistics are not readily available, in part because many governments in the developing world are reluctant to document those activities, which are often illegal under domestic laws, which violate international standards, and which may be perceived as a failure of internal public policy. (6) Notwithstanding international and domestic prohibitions, many children in developing countries are forced to work as debt-bonded and slave laborers in hazardous and exploitative industries. According to the United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and the International Labor Organization, there are tens of millions of child slaves in the world today. Large numbers of those slaves are involved in agricultural and domestic labor, the sex industry, the carpet and textile industries, and quarrying and brick making. (7) In many countries, children lack either the legal standing or the means to protect themselves from cruelty and exploitation in the workplace. (8) The employment of children often interferes with the opportunities of such children for basic education. Furthermore, where it coexists with high rates of adult unemployment, the use of child labor likely denies gainful employment to millions of adults. (9) While child labor is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that is tied to issues of poverty, educational opportunity, and culture, its most abusive and hazardous forms are repugnant to basic human rights and must be eliminated. (10) Created in 1992, the International Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) is the world's largest technical cooperation program on child labor, involving more than 50 countries and over 1,000 action programs. Governments take the initiative in seeking IPEC assistance, and demonstrate their commitment to combating child labor by signing a memorandum of understanding with IPEC, which serves as the basis for a long term in-country program that is overseen by a national steering committee comprised of representatives of government, employers' and workers' organizations, and relevant nongovernmental organizations. IPEC activities aim at preventing child labor, withdrawing children from hazardous work, and providing alternatives to child labor as a transitional measure toward its elimination. SEC. 3. UNITED STATES SUPPORT FOR DEVELOPMENTAL ALTERNATIVES FOR UNDERAGE CHILD WORKERS. For each of the fiscal years 1999 through 2001 there are authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Labor under the heading ``International Labor Affairs Bureau'' $30,000,000 for a United States contribution to the International Labor Organization for the activities of the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor. Passed the House of Representatives October 8, 1998. Attest: Clerk.