To help you understand what the Biden administration is doing to combat a growing child labor problem in the U.S., and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You’ll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…
The Biden administration wants to tackle a growing child labor problem. Child labor violations reached a two-decade high in fiscal year 2023. Per data kept by the Labor Department, 5,729 minors were found working in violation of federal law, up from 3,876 last year and 1,163 in 2014. Since 2018, child labor has gone up 69%.
Experts blame a variety of factors for the surge, from the historically tight labor market prompting employers to hire minors to high inflation inflicting more hardship on households. The U.S. has also seen an influx of migrant children from Latin America fleeing violence and poverty, a majority of whom do not have a parent in the U.S.
Uncle Sam is starting to crack down, levying $8 million in penalties on employers for child labor violations in the fiscal year 2023, up 83% from 2022.
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The president has asked for an extra $100 million to aid enforcement as part of the White House’s $100 billion-plus supplemental funding request to Congress, but it’s unclear whether the money will survive once the request has been picked over.
Federal labor law prohibits children younger than 14 from working, and all minors from working in industries the Department of Labor deems hazardous.
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SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth||Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor||Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group|
|SDG 1: No Poverty||Target 1.3: Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable||Indicator 1.3.2: Proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions|
|SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions||Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children||Indicator 16.2.3: Proportion of young women and men aged 18-29 years who experienced sexual violence by age 18|
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
The issue of child labor violations in the U.S. is directly connected to SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
SDG 1: No Poverty
The article mentions that high inflation has inflicted more hardship on households, which indicates a connection to SDG 1, which aims to end poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
The article mentions an influx of migrant children from Latin America fleeing violence and poverty, which relates to SDG 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor
The article highlights the Biden administration’s efforts to tackle the growing child labor problem in the U.S., which aligns with Target 8.7 under SDG 8.
Target 1.3: Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
The mention of high inflation inflicting hardship on households relates to the need for implementing social protection systems and measures for the poor and vulnerable, as stated in Target 1.3 under SDG 1.
Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children
The influx of migrant children fleeing violence and poverty highlights the need to address abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and violence against children, as targeted in Target 16.2 under SDG 16.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group
The article mentions the increase in child labor violations, providing a basis for measuring progress towards Target 8.7 under SDG 8.
Indicator 1.3.2: Proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
The mention of high inflation inflicting hardship on households indicates the need to measure the proportion of individuals living in poverty, as stated in Indicator 1.3.2 under SDG 1.
Indicator 16.2.3: Proportion of young women and men aged 18-29 years who experienced sexual violence by age 18
While not explicitly mentioned in the article, the influx of migrant children fleeing violence suggests the importance of measuring the proportion of young individuals who have experienced violence, as indicated in Indicator 16.2.3 under SDG 16.
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