Charita Castro, PhD is currently a Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Labor Affairs where she oversees its global forced labor and human trafficking portfolio, multilateral and regional fora concerning trade and labor (G7, G20, OECD, ASEAN, APEC, ILO), and trade-related labor issues in East Asia, including China. She has 20 years of federal government experience in senior policy, research, and management positions working collaboratively to deliver concrete results that improve the lives of workers and children, especially those in or at-risk of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.
Prior to USTR (2011 – 2018), Dr. Castro served as the inaugural Chief of Research and Policy for the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking at the U.S. Department of Labor, managing a 25-person staff of civil servants; overseeing a $80 million portfolio of international projects; supervising the publication of the Department’s three Congressionally-mandated and Presidential Directive reports on child labor and forced labor; and leading the development of the U.S. government’s Sweat & Toil and ComplyChain smartphone apps, the first-ever human rights focused mobile applications connecting the people and product components of supply chains for the federal government.
Dr. Castro began her federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1999, and also served at the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Health and Human Services.
She received her Doctor of Philosophy in public policy from the George Washington University; Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis; and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Tulane University. From 2004 – 2005, she was a Fulbright scholar to the Philippines researching occupational safety and the impact of hazardous work on child laborers in agriculture. She is currently serving as one of 120 IF/THEN Women in STEM Ambassadors to promote the next generation of female scientists, and a life-sized 3D statue of her was featured at the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition to honor Women’s History Month in 2022.