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The Child Labor Coalition

The Child Labor Coalition formed in November 1989, as concerned groups mobilized following the Capitol Hill Forum, “Exploitation of Children in the Workplace.”

The coalition believes that no child, regardless of race, sex, nationality, religion, economic status, place of residence, or occupation, should be exploited. Exploitative child labor is defined as employment (whether in the formal or informal sector; whether paid or unpaid) that is coerced, forced, bonded, slave, or otherwise known to be unfair in wages, injurious to the health and safety of children, and/or obstructs a child’s access to education or impairs educational attainment.

We are involved in the following activities:

  1. testifying before state and federal legislatures and agencies on child labor
  2. presenting comments in response to regulatory initiatives
  3. hosting conferences, forums, and briefings
  4. creating and distributing educational and public awareness materials
  5. initiating research
  6. conducting campaigns and media events

The CLC is unique: it’s only coalition here in the U.S. that is tackling a broad array of child labor issues and it is the only child labor coalition that has both a domestic and international focus. “I believe those are two of the reasons the coalition has endured for 20 years,” said NCL’s Executive Director Sally Greenberg, who is also a co-chair of the CLC. “By bringing together both domestic and internationally-focused nonprofits our voice has carried more weight and our broad scope attracts a lot of significant organizations.”

The idea for a coalition of nonprofits, unions, and other advocacy groups to fight child labor emerged rather suddenly in 1989. Several Washington, D.C. groups had just participated in a Capitol Hill child labor forum organized by Bill Goold, an aide at the time for Congressman Don Pease (D-Ohio). The forum energized a lot of the attendees including NCL’s president Linda Golodner and Pharis Harvey, the executive director of what was then called the International Labor Rights Fund (now the International Labor Rights Forum).