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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 16, 2003

UI Staff To Lead Davenport Workshops On Abusive Child Labor

University of Iowa educators will travel to Davenport on four consecutive Wednesdays beginning Oct. 22 to conduct workshops on abusive child labor issues in today's global economy. The series is hosted by First Presbyterian Church, 1702 Iowa St. in Davenport, and is free and open to the public. All sessions will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Led by Robin Clark-Bennett and Jennifer Sherer, both staff members in the UI Labor Center, the Davenport workshops will focus on several key topics related to child labor including the magnitude of the problem and its contributing factors, U.S. child labor history, international human rights and child labor and grassroots efforts to combat this global problem.

The schedule of discussion topics is:

Oct. 22: "What kinds of products are children producing and why?"
Oct. 29: "How does child labor violate international human rights?"
Nov. 5: "Does the history of U.S. child labor reform offer lessons for today?"
Nov. 12: "How are citizens and organizations working to combat abusive child labor?"

The series is part of the Child Labor Public Education Program, a collaborative project of the UI Center for Human Rights and the UI Labor Center. The goal of the program is to focus public attention on various aspects of child labor abuses, including international trade, workers' rights and children's health. It is one of six projects under the larger Child Labor Research Initiative, which is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In its first year of work, the Child Labor Public Education team has conducted dozens of workshops around the state, involving more than 700 participants from trade unions and community-based organizations.

"Jen and Robin have both done outstanding work and approach the discussion of child labor with amazing insights," said Chivy Sok, deputy director of the UI Center for Human Rights. "Their passion and knowledge are boundless, and these workshops are truly an invaluable resource for Iowans."

According to the latest report of the International Labor Organization, 246 million children between the ages of 5-17 engage in child labor. These are children working under conditions that violate national and international law, are hazardous or extremely exploitative. Child labor has been identified in a range of industries and sectors in recent years, including the production of bananas, carpets, soccer balls, surgical instruments, fireworks and cocoa. In its most abusive forms, child labor has been found in the sex trade, armed conflict and in modern examples of forced labor.

For more information about the Davenport workshops, contact the Rev. Dr. Scott Jansen, 563-383-0657 extension 213.

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: Chivy Sok, 319-335-3900, or the Rev. Dr. Scott Jansen, 563-383-0657 extension 213