Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
July 9, 2004
Partnership To Eliminate Sweatshops Program (PESP)
“For the last 4 years, through PESP, DRL has funded a variety of projects in just about every corner of the globe, from Vietnam, where we’re promoting code compliance, to the Gulf and Egypt, where we’re building union capacity, to Africa, where we’re working against sexual harassment in the workplace. We have a variety of partners for each of these projects…but all have the same goal: to build local capacity to improve code and labor law compliance through multi-stakeholder engagement.”
- Assistant Secretary of
State Lorne W. Craner
Purpose of Initiative
The Partnership to Eliminate Sweatshops Program (PESP) addresses unacceptable working conditions in manufacturing facilities overseas that produce goods for the U.S. market. It advances the development of a more stable international political and economic climate and builds a surer foundation for U.S. corporate investment abroad by advocating corporate social responsibility and building local capacity. It engages the private sector in the development of innovative approaches to address worker rights violations and working conditions abroad. The Partnership has provided millions of dollars to programs developed by the public and private sector to establish codes of conduct, encourage effective workplace monitoring and auditing systems, and conduct research, training and education initiatives.
PESP is unique in that it engages the private sector in the development of partnerships among corporations, labor unions, NGOs and others, to address sweatshop conditions in overseas worksites that develop goods for U.S. markets. The work of the Partnership complements and reinforces the public sector government-to-government efforts undertaken by the Department of Labor and USAID. It does this in a number of countries worldwide, including Vietnam, Thailand, Mozambique, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jordan, Kuwait, and Qatar.
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Social Accountability International (SAI)
The American Center for International Labor Solidarity
International Labor Rights Fund (IRLF)
Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
Worker Rights Consortium (WRC)
US Toy Industry Association (TIA)
China Working Group (CWG)
University of Iowa
To broaden the number and coverage of public-private partnerships that advance respect for the rule of law and worker rights and facilitate the development of modern management-labor relations systems.
Progress Toward Targets
Working with NGOs, governments and private enterprise, the Partnership has made notable progress toward eliminating sweatshop conditions in more than 30 countries worldwide. For example, projects are expanding the number of participating factories and industrial sectors adopting voluntary codes of conduct for worker rights. Government-business-labor partnerships have been created in Central America and Asia to eliminate sweatshops and advance worker rights. Child labor abuses have decreased in these areas due to programmatic interventions.
Governments, businesses and unions have built cooperative efforts in Central America and the Philippines to enhance respect for rule of law and worker rights. In Honduras and Ecuador, banana union representatives were trained to negotiate their first Framework Agreement with Chiquita Brands.
In addition, programs have been developed to improve work safety and health conditions in China; to develop advanced training materials for managers on issues such as labor, environmental issues, and health and safety; to build local capacity to eliminate violations of labor standards in Central American, South Asian, and Southeast Asian factories producing apparel for export on behalf of U.S. universities; and to enforce labor standards and enhance self-regulation by the Chinese toy industry.
Fiscal Year 2004 is the last year PESP will exist as a separate fund. Following that, it will be merged into the complementary Human Rights and Democracy Fund (HRDF). Information about the HRDF can be found at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/p/. [Note: This fact sheet updated 09/27/2007 to correct url.] Future goals include harnessing best practices of the anti-sweatshop effort to build local sustainable capacity. This model would concentrate on factories where U.S. brands source and engage factory workers, mangers and local NGOs.
Since the program’s inception in fiscal year 2000, the U.S. Government has provided approximately $15 million for PESP.
FY 2000 - $4 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF)
FY 2001 - $3.991 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF)
FY 2002 - $4 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF)
FY 2003 - $2 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF)
FY 2004 - $2 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF)
USG Primary Point of Contact
Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: Christopher Camponovo.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: www.state.gov/g/drl
Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor Lorne W. Craner: "Corporate Social Responsibility at the State Department"