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ILAB, OSEC Notices

Notice and Request for Information Regarding Forced/Indentured Child Labor Pursuant to Executive Order 13126   [5/10/2004]
[PDF]
FR Doc E4-1047

[Federal Register: May 10, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 90)]
[Notices]               
[Page 25923-25925]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr10my04-76]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Bureau of International Labor Affairs

 
Notice and Request for Information Regarding Forced/Indentured 
Child Labor Pursuant to Executive Order 13126

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Labor.

ACTION: Notice and request for information regarding forced child labor 
in the cocoa industry in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire.

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SUMMARY: This notice sets forth and requests information regarding the 
status of a March 2001 submission, pursuant to Executive Order 13126 
(``Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced or 
Indentured Child Labor'') and alleging the use of forced child labor in 
the cocoa industry in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire. The Department of Labor, in 
consultation and cooperation with the Departments of Homeland Security, 
Treasury and State, has decided to continue monitoring the production 
of cocoa in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire to determine whether there is use of 
forced or indentured child labor in the industry and, accordingly, 
whether this country/product should be added to the list of products 
prohibited from acquisition under Executive Order 13126. This notice 
also requests additional information to assist the Departments of 
Labor, State and Treasury in making a determination on forced child 
labor in the cocoa industry in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire. The review of this 
country/product is being conducted pursuant to Executive Order 13126 
and the Department's ``Procedural Guidelines for Maintenance of the 
List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to 
Forced or Indentured Child Labor.''

DATES: Submitters of information are requested to provide two (2) 
copies of their written submission to the International Child Labor 
Program by June 9, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Written submissions should be addressed to Christine Camillo 
at the

[[Page 25924]]

International Child Labor Program, Bureau of International Labor 
Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room 
S-5307, Washington, DC 20210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Camillo, International Child 
Labor Program, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department 
of Labor, at (202) 693-4843; fax (202) 693-4830.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Executive Order No. 13126, which was published in the Federal 
Register on June 16, 1999 (64 FR 32383), declared that it was ``the 
policy of the United States Government * * * that executive agencies 
shall take appropriate actions to enforce the laws prohibiting the 
manufacture or importation of goods, wares, articles, and merchandise 
mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced or 
indentured child labor.'' Pursuant to the Executive Order, and 
following public notice and comment, the Department of Labor (DOL) 
published in the January 18, 2001, Federal Register (66 FR 5353), a 
final list of products, identified by their country of origin, that the 
Department, in consultation and cooperation with the Departments of 
State and Treasury, had a reasonable basis to believe might have been 
mined, produced, or manufactured with forced or indentured child labor. 
In addition to this list, DOL also published on January 18, 2001, a 
notice of procedural guidelines for maintaining, reviewing, and, as 
appropriate, revising the list of products required by Executive Order 
13126. (66 FF 5351). The list of products can be accessed on the 
Internet at http://www.dol.gov/ilab or can be obtained from: 

International Child Labor Program, Bureau of International Labor 
Affairs, Room S-5307, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-4843; fax (202) 
693-4830. A copy of the ``Procedural Guidelines for Maintenance of the 
List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to 
Forced or Indentured Child Labor (Procedural Guideline)'' is also 
available from this office.
    Pursuant to section 3 of the Executive Order, the Federal 
Acquisition Regulatory Councils published a final rule in the Federal 
Register on January 18, 2001 (66 FR 5346), providing that Federal 
contractors who supply products that appear on the list issued by DOL 
must certify to the contracting officer that the contractor, or, in the 
case of an incorporated contractor, a responsible official of the 
contractor, has made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or 
indentured child labor was used to mine, produce, or manufacture any 
product furnished under the contract and that, on the basis of those 
efforts, the contractor is unaware of any such use of child labor. (48 
CFR subpart 22.15). The regulation also imposes other requirements with 
respect to contracts for goods on the list of products.

II. C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire/Cocoa Executive Order Submission

    On March 20, 2001, DOL accepted for review a videotape submission, 
provided by Kevin Bales of Anti-Slavery International, under Executive 
Order 13126, describing conditions of forced child labor in the cocoa 
industry in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire. In accordance with the Procedural 
Guidelines, DOL initiated a review into whether forced or indentured 
child labor is used in the production of this good in C[ocirc]te 
d'Ivoire and has consulted with the Departments of Homeland Security 
(DHS), Treasury and State regarding this issue. DOL has included DHS in 
its interagency consultations for Executive Order submissions, since 
this agency now has responsibility for enforcing the forced labor 
provisions of the Tariff Act (previously enforced by the U.S. Treasury 
Department).

III. Sources of Information & Factors Considered in the Review Process

    In conducting its review of this submission, DOL has sought and 
reviewed information on C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire cocoa from a variety of 
sources, including the Department of Labor's 2002 Findings on the Worst 
Forms of Child Labor, the State Department's annual Country Reports on 
Human Rights Practices--2003: C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire and Trafficking in 
Persons Report, 2003, the International Institute for Tropical 
Agriculture's 2002 Child Labor Surveys in the Cocoa Sector of West 
Africa synthesis report, as well as numerous other governmental and 
nongovernmental organization reports, articles and stories describing 
conditions of forced child labor in the C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire cocoa 
industry.
    In reviewing this information, the Departments of Labor, State, 
Treasury and Homeland Security have considered several factors: The 
nature of the information describing the use of forced or indentured 
child labor; the source of the information; the date of the 
information; the extent of corroboration of the information by 
appropriate sources; and whether the information involved more than an 
isolated incident. In addition, DOL has sought evidence of recent, 
credible efforts being made to address forced or indentured child labor 
in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire by the Ivorian government.

IV. Evidence of Forced Child Labor in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire Cocoa 
Industry

    DOL has received reports that thousands of children work on cocoa 
farms in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire, most alongside their families. These 
children are allegedly engaged in tasks/activities such as clearing 
fields; weeding; maintaining cocoa trees; fermenting; transporting; and 
drying as well as particularly hazardous tasks, such as spraying 
pesticides on cocoa without protection, using machetes to clear 
undergrowth and carrying heavy loads.
    In addition to children working alongside their families in cocoa 
production, some children have allegedly been trafficked within 
C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire and into the country from Benin, Burkina Faso, 
Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Togo to work on commercial cocoa 
farms. Children working as forced labor on these farms describe being 
deceived, coerced, and threatened by adult intermediaries and 
employers; working between 10-20 hours per day with few or no breaks 
under hazardous conditions; and being confined to locked rooms at night 
and unable to leave their place of work. They also describe being: 
denied pay or provided with inadequate compensation; required to work 
without food or drink; subject to physical abuse and mental abuse; and 
prohibited from attending school.

V. Enforcement of Child Labor Laws and Enforcement in the Cocoa Sector 
in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire

    C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire's Labor Code sets the minimum age for 
employment at 14 years, even for apprenticeships, and prohibits 
children under 18 years from working more than 12 consecutive hours a 
day. The Labor Code also prohibits forced or compulsory labor, and 
Decree No. 67-265 sets the minimum age for hazardous work at 18 years. 
There is no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons, 
although one is pending in the National Assembly.
    Child labor laws in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire apply to all sectors and 
industries in the country, but minimum age laws are enforced by the 
Ministry of Employment and Civil Service only in the civil service and 
in large multinational companies. In 2003, the government continued to 
combat trafficking, but there were no reports that the government 
prosecuted traffickers using

[[Page 25925]]

existing laws against the kidnapping of children. The government's 
engagement in the country's ongoing civil conflict has impeded 
enforcement of child labor and anti-trafficking laws since September 
2002.

VI. Recent Government Efforts To Address the Child Labor Problem in the 
Cocoa Industry

    The Government of C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire has acknowledged the problem 
of child labor in the cocoa industry and made some recent, credible 
efforts to address this issue. In September 2000, the Governments of 
C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire and Mali signed a bilateral agreement to curb the 
trafficking of Malian children into C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire and have worked 
together since then to prevent cross-border trafficking and repatriate 
child victims. In 2001, the government began participating in a $4.3 
DOL-funded regional project funded through the International Labor 
Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor 
(ILO-IPEC) to combat the trafficking of children for exploitive labor 
in West and Central Africa. In 2002, the government agreed to 
participate in a second $5 million DOL-funded ILO-IPEC project to 
combat the use of children in hazardous work in the cocoa sector. That 
same year, in collaboration with INTERPOL, the Government of C[ocirc]te 
d'Ivoire organized a meeting with neighboring countries in West and 
Central Africa, and several United Nations agencies and nongovernmental 
organizations, to discuss child trafficking in the region. In the 
resulting Yamoussoukro Declaration, the meeting participants pledged to 
conduct coordinated information campaigns on child trafficking. The 
government has implemented a National Development Plan for Education 
that calls for universal primary education by 2010 and in 2002, 
distributed free textbooks to 1.2 million students. In April 2004, the 
government conducted a workshop on child labor in the cocoa industry 
and considered anti-trafficking legislation.

VII. Status of the Review of the C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire/Cocoa Submission

    Although the Government of C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire has made some 
recent, credible efforts to address forced child labor in the cocoa 
sector, the Departments of Labor, State, Treasury and Homeland Security 
remain concerned about this problem and about the lack of an adequate 
legal framework to address forced child labor in the non-industrial 
farm sector. For this reason, the Departments have decided to continue 
to keep this Executive Order submission under review in order to 
monitor the government's efforts to address the forced child labor 
problem in the cocoa industry during the next six months. At the end of 
this period, the Departments will determine whether the Government of 
C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire has taken significant, credible steps to consider 
the adoption of new anti-trafficking legislation and has made efforts 
to enforce its laws prohibiting child labor, including forced child 
labor where it is occurring in the cocoa sector.

VIII. Information Sought

    DOL is requesting current information about the nature and extent 
of forced child labor in the cocoa industry in C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire as 
well as efforts made by the Government of C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire to 
address this problem.
    This notice is a general solicitation of comments from the public. 
All submitted comments will be made a part of the record of the review 
referred to above and will be available for public inspection.

    Signed in Washington, DC this 5th day of May, 2004.
Arnold Levine,
Deputy Under Secretary for International Labor Affairs.
 [FR Doc. E4-1047 Filed 5-7-04; 8:45 am]

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