U.S. Department of Labor Will Spend $9 Million to Reduce Child Labor--in Columbia

By Penny Starr | May 24, 2013 | 3:05 PM EDT

A young Indian bonded child laborer cries as he is walked away after being rescued during a raid by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, at a garment factory in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

(CNSNews.com) – The Department of Labor announced on Monday that its Bureau of International Labor Affairs will award up to $9 million “to support Colombia’s efforts to reduce child labor.”

“In FY 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) will award up to $9 million for one or more cooperative agreements to fund a technical assistance project(s) to support Colombia’s efforts to reduce child labor, including by promoting safe work in the mining sector, with a focus on artisanal, non-formal mining, as a strategy for mitigating the risk of injuries for adult workers that can negatively impact household livelihoods and contribute to child labor,” the grant description stated.

The grant, which is accepting applications until July 19, is open to “any commercial, international, educational, or non-profit organization(s), including faith-based, community-based, or public international organization(s), capable of successfully reducing child labor in mining and promoting occupational safety and health standards within the framework of mine formalization.”

In a letter to DOL employees, acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris warned about the effects of the across-the-board spending cuts, or sequestration, put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2010. The cuts began on March 1.

“We must find ways to continue our work – the work the American people need and expect from us – even in the face of looming cuts,” Harris wrote.

“But I have to be candid,” Harris wrote. “We are in for some difficult times.

“The department is taking steps to soften the impact of the sequester,” he added.

“Agencies are reducing travel and training expenses,” Harris wrote. “The Department will freeze performance awards for an indefinite period.

“Contract dollars that do not directly support the mission will be curtailed,” Harris wrote.

The Department of Labor did not respond to requests from CNSNews.com seeking further information about the grant, including whether the federal budget sequester had any influence on taxpayer funds being spent on projects abroad.

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