New Labor app, API open massive data library on child labor

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The Labor Department released two new ways for the public to use open data in the fight against child and forced labor Tuesday.

The Sweat & Toil app, released by the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, takes thousands of pages of data from three reports — “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor;” “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor” and “List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor” — and reduces it to a database that can be searched on a mobile device.

App users can review international laws or efforts to eliminate child labor, browse what goods have been produced with child or forced labor, and comb through other assorted child labor data.

The Labor Department also released an API which taps into the bureau’s data library on child and forced labor, giving developers and data scientists the chance to integrate the data into their own research.

“My hope is that our new Sweat & Toil app and the open data are used to promote social good, enabling more people to empower themselves with knowledge about these issues,” Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Carol Pier said in a release. “We want more people asking questions, taking action and demanding change.”

The app and API release come as the Labor Department announced the results of its 2014 “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor,” which records the progress made by governments around the world in relation to child labor laws. The report finds nearly 60 percent of the countries covered made a “moderate to significant advancement” in deterring the worst forms of child labor.

“Whether facing economic instability, health epidemics, natural disasters, political conflict or chronic poverty, we as a global community have an obligation to protect our children,” Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu said during an unveiling of the app at 1776, a startup incubator in Washington, D.C. “This report and the new mobile app are intended as practical tools to identify the problem and help governments around the world firm up the foundations of such protections, so that children don’t fall through the cracks.”

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data analytics, Department of Labor, Departments, open data, Tech
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