THANK THE WORLD'S CHILDREN FOR THEIR LABOR

(00/06/2010)

By Bob Weaver

A U.S. government report released last year says there are more than 58 countries where child labor or forced labor is used to make thousands of items used by US consumers.

Everything from coffee grown in Colombia to Christmas decorations made in China.

The report, called weak-kneed by critics, failed to list the culprits.

It has worsened with the US push to globalize the American workforce, the shifting of labor abroad by America companies who often contract for work services or purchase the low-cost goods.

The US government now says it wants American companies and consumers to know about the these products that are made under sub-standard work conditions in which children and other workers are exploited and abused.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, in releasing the information, said "I do hope that the major corporations will take it seriously."

The child labor problem continues to persist with products from West African cocoa farms to Latin American sugar cane to Indian silk.

The Labor Department report was mandated by Congress, but it did not name foreign companies that use child labor or U.S. businesses that purchase the goods.

Solis said, in a press release, the intent is not to penalize companies or bar trade with any country, just to raise public awareness.

The report said some of the most common products, in addition to manufactured items, include raw materials like cotton, sugar cane, coffee, rice, cocoa and bricks.


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