The United States contributed $21.6 million this year to fight to end abusive child labor practices around the world, the U.S. Department of Labor announced last week.
The grants came from a record $30 million appropriation, up from the previous year's meager $3 million.
"Millions of children are working in intolerable situations and we made a decision to take the lead in the campaign to end the most abusive practices," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "Now there is a global movement to eradicate this evil and we can predict that the most abusive forms of child labor will be eradicated world-wide."
Additional grant requests being processed will bring the total to the full $30 million for the 1999 fiscal year.
"Our grants go to projects that will take children out of abusive work environments and get them an education," said Herman. "But we also have to look at alternative sources of income for their families. Most of the money working children make goes to income for their families."
The 1999 grants funded projects in 18 countries or regions, including countries in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean.
Another $30 million will be contributed to new projects in 2000.