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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 1, 2003

UI Database Collects National Child Labor Laws From Around World

Information about child labor laws in 10 countries is now searchable online in a child labor legislative database created by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR).

The database ( was created as part of the UICHR's Child Labor Research Initiative, which is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. It contains the child labor-specific text of laws from nations around the world, which can be searched by country and category/topic. Searches will return relevant sections of the laws, as well as documentary details and links to English-language and original language versions of the entire legislative document in PDF form.

Since 1999, when a majority of the nations of the world endorsed the International Labor Organization's Convention No. 182, calling for the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, legislatures around the world have taken action to bring their national laws affecting child labor into compliance with international standards.

Until now, there has been no single clearinghouse of information on all the national laws related to child labor worldwide. Burns Weston, UICHR director and an emeritus professor of law, said the Child Labor Legislative Database will serve a wide range of individuals and institutions working to eliminate or reduce child labor.

"Knowing the law is among the very first steps one must take to remedy human rights violations," he said. "The UICHR's child labor legislative database thus will serve as a critical tool for intergovernmental organizations, agencies of different national governments, non-governmental organizations and others who seek to hold governments accountable for abusive and exploitative child labor.

"Child labor, especially in its worst forms, presents a major policy challenge to the international community that our new legislative database can help to ameliorate," Weston continued. "The University of Iowa is now on the forefront of this global struggle."

UICHR staff, led by Mary Galligan and Brett Lorenzen, have spent nearly two years researching, collecting and translating into English all laws dealing with child labor in the 10 countries currently indexed in the database -- Cambodia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom and the United States. Plans call for the database to be expanded to include laws from 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America by September 2004.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Burns Weston, or Mary Galligan,