Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Child labour: US Department of Labor presents Iqbal Masih award to American documentary filmmaker for efforts to combat exploitative child labor

SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor

Documentary filmmaker Len Morris received the 2011 Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor during a ceremony today at U.S. Department of Labor headquarters. Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Affairs Sandra Polaski presented the award, which honors Morris for producing and editing groundbreaking documentaries that highlight the plight of child laborers around the world.

"This award recognizes the life's work of Len Morris in raising public awareness about the plight of working children around the globe," said Polaski. "His films and advocacy highlight child labor, hunger in Africa and homeless child laborers."

Congress established the Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor in 2009 to recognize exceptional efforts by an individual, company, organization or national government to end the worst forms of child labor. The award reflects the spirit of Iqbal Masih, (photo) a Pakistani child sold into bonded labor as a carpet weaver at age 4. He escaped his servitude and became an outspoken advocate of children's rights, drawing international attention in his fight against child labor. Masih was killed in Pakistan at age 13 in 1995.

In 2011, the Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public nominations for the annual award. Morris was nominated for raising international awareness of child labor and inspiring others to join the fight to improve the lives of working children. His 2008 documentary "Rescuing Emmanuel" highlights the struggles of millions of street children around the world by telling the story of a 13-year-old Kenyan boy. His 2003 documentary "Stolen Childhoods" was filmed in seven countries and exposes the shocking plight of child laborers. The words and images of these children and their advocates illustrate the breadth of the problem, its root causes and possible solutions.

Since 1995, the Labor Department has supported efforts to combat exploitive child labor internationally. For more information about this work and the Iqbal Masih Award, visit