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Cablegate: Laos: Review Finds No Goods Produced with Forced

VZCZCXRO4791
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHVN #0365 1790950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270950Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2079
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS VIENTIANE 000365

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS BESTIC
STATE FOR DRL/ILCSR MITTELHAUSER
STATE FOR G/TIP STEINER
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FOR ILAB RIGBY
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR H.P. PHO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD ECON PHUM SOCI LA
SUBJECT: LAOS: REVIEW FINDS NO GOODS PRODUCED WITH FORCED
OR EXPLOITATIVE CHILD LABOR

REF: STATE 43120

1. SUMMARY: According to Lao government and industry as well
as international organization and NGO sources, there is no
evidence of forced or exploitative child labor in the
production of goods in Laos. END SUMMARY

2. In response to reftel, the Embassy contacted Government
of Laos (GOL) officials, industry representatives, the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP) resident representative's
office, and credible international non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) to inquire whether there are goods
produced by forced and exploitative child labor in Laos. GOL
representatives from the Ministry of Labor and Social
Welfare, the Lao Garment Industry Association, and the Lao
People's Revolutionary Youth Union stressed that Laos had
ratified and enforces all major international labor
conventions, including those concerning child labor. GOL
officials also stated they have proactively taken
precautionary steps to mitigate possible negative effects
stemming from an increased demand for cheap labor due to
economic development. They cited examples such as drafting a
"Youth Law" to "protect, promote and develop" young people
and creating a statistical survey of the Lao workforce, which
includes worker's ages, with support from the International
Labour Organization (ILO).

3. Econoff also contacted the UNDP resident representative's
office and eleven credible NGOs, including Save the Children,
UNICEF, and Concern Worldwide, inquiring about their
experience with forced and child labor issues in Laos.
Although all described the educational system as inadequate
with limited opportunities for poor children to continue
their education after the required five years of primary
schooling, none of the sources had any reports of forced or
exploitative child labor cases in the production of goods in
Laos.

4. COMMENT: World Radio Switzerland (WRS) reported recently
that child labor is used in the handicraft industry in Laos.
Econoff contacted the author, Vincent Landon, and learned
that his article is based on a single visit to one handicraft
company in Vientiane where the journalist met one
thirteen-year-old girl weaving silk. Landon had no
information of a widespread problem. None of the Lao
government and industry, international organization, or NGO
sources reported exploitative child labor being used in
handicraft industry in Laos. END COMMENT


HUSO

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