June 12, 2013
AFT's Johnson and the Child Labor Coalition Commemorate World Day Against Child Labor
CARE Act, Film Screenings Highlight Discussion, Action at the Goethe-Institut Washington
WASHINGTON—Today, the American Federation of Teachers, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), labor unions, nonprofit organizations and others will participate in actions and activities around the World Day Against Child Labor. At 5 p.m., the CLC will hold a discussion and screen four films at the Goethe-Institut Washington, highlighting the exploitation and plight of child laborers.
The AFT has taken a leadership role within the CLC for more than a decade to help give a voice to these children.
AFT Secretary-Treasurer and CLC Co-Chair Lorretta Johnson released the following statement on the World Day Against Child Labor.
"This should not be a fight we are still having in the 21st century. Each day, millions of children around the world are being exploited and forced into work. Instead of attending school, building a strong knowledge base and preparing for the future, these children face hazardous work, low pay, and even slavery.
"Whether they are children who manufacture textiles in Bangladesh, make bricks in Pakistan, or are forced to sell their bodies in places like Cambodia, the Philippines and Romania, this issue leaves no corner of the earth untouched.
"That includes right here in the United States of America, where more than 400,000 children are being exploited as farmworkers. Fifty percent of children who regularly work on farms will not graduate from high school. That is unacceptable.
"Until all children, regardless of where they are born, have the opportunity to receive an education, we will continue advocating and fighting on their behalf.
"We should start by throwing our full support behind immediate passage of the CARE Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. The Children's Act for Responsible Employment is a very simple bill. It proposes to offer the same protections to children who work on farms as those in every other industry.
"We must stop the exploitation of children employed in agribusiness so they can go to school and achieve their dreams.
"Our children face many obstacles. Exploitation of any kind should not be one of them. On June 16 at 9 p.m., CNN will air 'Girls Rising' a documentary on the power of education in transforming lives. On the World Day Against Child Labor, we would do well to look to the young women spotlighted in this film as our inspiration."
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.