Labor's Child Labor Enforcement Efforts:

Developments After Operation Child Watch

T-HRD-91-44: Published: Aug 7, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Department of Labor's efforts to protect working children in the aftermath of Operation Child Watch, Labor's national enforcement effort to detect and deter child labor violations. GAO found that: (1) Labor has enhanced regional efforts to educate the public about child labor laws and permitted greater regional flexibility to allocate enforcement resources to child labor activities; (2) Labor detected 11,544 illegally employed children during the first 6 months of 1991, a 52 percent decline from the same period in 1990; (3) Labor lacks explicit criteria for assessing regional-district office outreach efforts; (4) Labor lacks the tools to effectively evaluate regional child labor resource requirements to ensure that regions contribute the level of resources necessary to assure the strategy's effective implementation; (5) due to a decrease in Wage and Hour Division investigators and increased investigator training, the number of investigations conducted has declined; (6) under the new penalty schedule, Labor is assessing higher civil monetary penalties for the more serious child labor violations; and (7) the number of illegally employed minors in 1990 will slightly exceed fiscal year 1989 levels, continuing a trend of rising detected illegal employment since 1985.

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