Remarks to the Working Together to Combat Child Labor Conference

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 8, 2010

Hello everyone. Thank you for coming today to this joint conference hosted by the Departments of State and Labor. I especially want to thank you for your work to better the lives of children and families across the globe because the exploitation of children anywhere should be a concern to people everywhere.

As the global community marks World Day Against Child Labor this week, we in the United States must take stock of the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead. Ten years ago, we became one of the first countries to ratify the International Labor Organization’s convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, and we remain committed to ending child exploitation – including child soldiering, child trafficking, and any work that harms the health, safety, or morals of children.

The problem of child labor may be entrenched but it is also solvable. And working together, we can provide families across the world with meaningful alternatives to child labor and by doing that we address the root causes – including inequality, inadequate access to education, a lack of decent work for parents, poor enforcement of labor laws – all of which perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

Ending labor exploitation is our shared responsibility because every child born into this world deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her God-given potential. So thank you again for your work on this important issue and I give you my very best wishes that this will be a productive conference.