Verité, in partnership with Winrock and Lawyers without Borders, is helping to implement CLEAR II, a project to reduce the prevalence of child labor in eight countries. This four-year project which began in 2014, is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and addresses the circumstances that contribute to child labor and builds on the CLEAR I project, which is being implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Verité’s role in this partnership includes providing technical support to public officials and private companies to reduce child labor. The countries involved in this project include Nepal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Honduras, Panama, and Belize, with two others still to be named.
Child labor is defined as any work that interferes with a child’s education and development or is hazardous in any way. Lisa Cox, a former trial attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is leading Verité’s efforts on this project. Ms. Cox brings several years of experience to CLEAR II, having worked with labor inspectorates to combat child labor in Southeast Asia as a part of organizations including the ILO and UN Women.
Verité’s contribution has focused on the improvement of monitoring and enforcement of child labor laws and regulations with most work to date having been carried out in Nepal. “Our goal in Nepal, and each of the countries, is to improve the government’s response to child labor and to decrease the number of children exploited,” says Cox. “We also hope to increase awareness of child labor in the private sector and assist targeted companies and industry groups in eliminating child labor from their supply chains.”
At the start of the project in April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. Though this created new challenges for Verité and our partners, work on CLEAR II has progressed. In order to build the capacity of Nepal’s Ministry of Labor to identify and eliminate child labor, Verité has drafted curricula to train labor inspectors how to recognize child labor, prevent it from occurring, and address violations when they are found. Verité will soon train inspectors on the curricula and will also hold workshops to foster better collaboration between government inspectors and stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
In the informal economy, challenges to addressing child labor persist as operations are often hidden, easily relocated, and lacking transparency. Despite this Verité, along with our partners in CLEAR II, are working to improve the capabilities of public inspectorates and private companies to identify and address these issues.
See next month’s Vision or contact Lisa Cox for more information on this effort.
Chris Marino, a Verité Intern, contributed to this article. For more information about Verité’s Internships, visit our Careers Page.