It is important to be conscious of any budget, including the federal budget. It is foolish to continue to put money into programs that do not work, but it is also foolish to pull money out of programs that do work just to be able to say that money was saved. Investments are made for a reason – to seek value in the return. Good returns may include national security, strong economic partners to trade with, and a clear conscious knowing that children are being protected.

The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) released its most recent report, Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, on the 21st of September. For the fifth year in a row, the Philippines achieved the highest assessment level, “Significant Advancement”, due to the impact they have had in reducing the worst forms of child labor. World Vision was recognized in this report for its USDOL-funded ABK3 project (Livelihoods, Education, Advocacy, and Protection to Reduce Child Labor in Sugarcane Areas).

This project had a very substantial impact: “Through key partnerships, advocacy efforts, and awareness-raising, the project reduced child labor in target communities by 86%, provided opportunities for education to over 54,000 children, provided more than 30,000 households with the necessary resources to keep children out of hazardous work in farms, and assisted 130 villages in incorporating child labor and child rights issues into annual community development plans. It also mobilized the private sector – more than 70 sugar industry institutions and associations – to institute programs to reduce child labor in sugar supply chains.”

This is definitely something worth celebrating! It is also something that sparks the question, “Why would these programs be eliminated?” It is a question that everyone who cares about preventing child labor should be asking of Congress right now.

Worldwide, 152 million children are involved in child labor. The Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at the U.S. Department of Labor has worked for over 20 years to reduce hazardous child labor through education. ILAB programs take a holistic approach, including community and government involvement, to increase access to education for children and support livelihood opportunities for families to meet basic needs. Now, these programs are at risk of being cut.

In March, the President presented a budget that completely eliminated ILAB grant funding to fight child labor. With advocates playing a key role in alerting Congress, a handful of champions have spoken out against these cuts. As Congress becomes closer to finalizing the FY18 numbers we are happy to report that both the House and the Senate current budgets, which will still need a vote to be finalized, include funding for ILAB. While the Senate has maintained level funding, the House is proposing cuts that would be significantly damaging for this program that is currently funded at a minute fraction of one percent of the total U.S. budget.

Please take a moment to let your members of Congress know that you care about preventing and ending child labor and that you would like them to care too.

Tell Congress to preserve funding to fight child labor
Enter your info below to find your members of Congress.
Congress is making decisions now for the FY 2018 budget. Personalize the message below and share that you care about preventing child labor.

Fight Child Labor with One Phone Call
Enter your info below to find your members of Congress.
Congress is making decisions now for the FY 2018 budget. Make a phone call to share that you care about preventing child labor.

Photo: Courtesy of ABK3-LEAP project. Published 2017.

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