Text: H.R.4506 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?

Shown Here:
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.
  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,


    This Act may be cited as the ``International Child Labor Relief Act 
of 1998''.


    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 
            (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.


    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.



Share This