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Cablegate: Syria - Forced Labor and Child Labor

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0123 0431453
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121453Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7343

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000123

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, DRL/ILCSR FOR SARAH MORGAN, G/TIP
FOR LUIS CDEBACA
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR/ILAB FOR LEYLA STROTKAMP, RACHEL RIGBY,
AND TINA MCCARTER.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI SY
SUBJECT: SYRIA - FORCED LABOR AND CHILD LABOR

REF: 09 STATE 131995

1. This cable provides information on child labor and forced
labor in the Syrian Arab Republic per reftel.

2. Contacts at local international NGOs and children's rights
activists reported the Syrian Arab Republic Government (SARG)
kept no official statistics on the prevalence of child labor
in the country, nor was there evidence the SARG regularly
monitored industries for evidence of child labor.
Notwithstanding some allegations in blogs, these same
contacts do not consider the use of forced or child labor in
the production of goods to be an appreciable phenomenon in
Syria and have no statistics suggesting that it is. Anecdotal
evidence suggests that (1) most child labor occurs among
intensely poor Syrians and Iraqi refugees who seek to support
themselves and/or their families by working in the service
sector or on small farms; and (2) most forced labor occurs in
the exploitation of foreign domestics living with Syrian
families.

3. The Syrian Commission for Family Affairs continued working
with relevant NGOs and SARG ministries on a comprehensive
children's rights law during the reporting period.
Additionally, in December 2009, the Ministry of Social
Affairs and Labor agreed to cooperate with the International
Labor Organization and UNICEF on a three-month national study
of the worst forms of child labor in the country.
HUNTER

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