The U.S. Department of Labor has granted USD 2,000,000 to support a project on addressing child and forced labor in coffee supply chains in Honduras, contributing to the U.S. Government’s efforts to advance respect for human rights among businesses.

The United States is the second largest market in the world for Honduran coffee. But before that coffee reaches our cups, over one million Hondurans select, pick and process the beans. Many workers are children – toiling in the fields instead of learning in school.

There are nearly 158,000 children engaged in child labor in Honduras, and more work in agriculture than in any other sector. Honduran coffee production relies largely on family–based labor, and in many communities very little is known about the negative consequences of child labor, exploitative labor and unsafe working conditions. Efforts to reduce child labor in the Honduran coffee sector must address several factors, such as limited enforcement of labor laws and limited access to educational opportunities.

This project will help businesses establish systems to prevent, detect and eliminate child labor and other forms of labor exploitation from their supply chains, and will assemble a powerful coalition of coffee buyers to collectively incentivize compliance among suppliers. In doing so, the project will help promote supply chains free of exploitative labor and a fair playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world.

The project will facilitate sustained, sector-wide change in labor practices through an integrated strategy. It will develop and pilot innovative social compliance tools that help businesses reduce child labor, forced labor and unacceptable working conditions in business operations and supply chains. By adopting these tools, businesses will be better able to implement social compliance systems that can prevent, detect and eliminate egregious labor abuses.

A key aspect of the proposed strategy is assembling a powerful coalition of coffee buyers that can collectively exert leverage over suppliers, communicate common expectations and provide suppliers with the resources, frameworks, guidance, tools and trainings needed to eradicate forced labor, child labor and wage, hour and health and safety violations from their supply chains.

Project Duration: December 2017 – December 2020
Grantee: International Labor Organization (ILO)

Click here to find out more about the work of the Bureau of International Labour Affairs.
More information on the project can be found here.

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