PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT
Research Focus of the Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor has prepared this 20th annual report, the 2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, in accordance with the Trade and Development Act of 2000 (TDA). (1) The TDA set forth the requirement that a country implement its commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor for the President of the United States to consider in designating the country a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. (2; 3) The TDA also mandated that the President submit to the United States Congress the Secretary of Labor’s findings with respect to each “beneficiary country’s implementation of its international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.” (1) ILAB carries out this responsibility on behalf of the Secretary.
This report covers 119 independent countries and 15 non-independent countries and territories designated as GSP beneficiaries. This includes former GSP recipients who
have negotiated free trade agreements with the United States. (4) Because the population of children is extremely small (fewer than 50) or non-existent in the British Indian Ocean Territory, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and the Pitcairn Islands, the report does not contain a discussion of these three non-independent countries and territories. This 2020 report presents information on child labor and the worst forms of child labor, and efforts to eliminate this exploitation in the remaining 119 countries and 12 non-independent countries and territories. The use of “countries” in this report includes territories, and because the report focuses on government efforts, non-independent countries and territories are classified by their associated regions.
In undertaking research on the “worst forms of
child labor,” ILAB relied on the TDA definition of a child, which is the same definition contained in ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (ILO C. 182). The TDA and ILO C. 182 define “child” as a person under age 18.
The reporting period for this year’s report is January 2020 through December 2020. In certain cases, significant events or government efforts that occurred in early 2021 were included, as appropriate.
Type of Work
This report focuses on child labor and the worst forms of child labor. Definitions related to these types of work are guided by ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age (ILO C. 138) and ILO C. 182. Child labor includes work below the minimum age as established in national legislation (excluding permissible light work), the worst forms of child labor, and hazardous unpaid household services. The definition of the “worst forms of child labor” is found in the TDA and is the same as that included in ILO C. 182. It includes (a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale or trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom, or forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; (b) the use, procuring, or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography, or for pornographic performances; (c) the use, procuring, or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs; and (d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances under which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children. (1; 5) Similar to ILO C. 182, the TDA states that the work described in subparagraph (d) should be “determined by the laws, regulations, or competent authority of the country involved.”
Read the full report.