The U.S. government said in a report released Friday it found evidence of illegal use of child labor in Honduras as well as systemic problems with the country's ability to enforce its labor laws.
The findings from its investigation were issued three years after the AFL-CIO and 26 other Honduran unions and other groups filed complaints of violations of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.
The labor protections are intended to raise living standards in other countries but also protect U.S. workers from unfair competition. U.S. companies were involved in Honduran workplaces cited in the report and farms and factories cited exports to the U.S.
The Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA), a division of the Department of Labor, said its detailed review turned up labor law violations in almost all of the still operating businesses that the unions and groups complained about. OTLA said its review left it with “serious concerns regarding the government of Honduras’ enforcement of its labor laws in response to evidence of such violations.”
“Honduras must be required to enforce its labor laws and ensure that employers are complying with fines and remediation orders,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement.
Honduras is obligated to upholding certain labor protections, including guarantees on union organizing, bargaining and wage, health and safety and child labor protections, as a signee of the DR-CAFTA agreement.
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– Suzanne Gamboa