March 12, 2024 

Legislation Cracking Down on Child Labor Exploitation Advances 

WASHINGTON – Last week, the Preventing Child Labor Exploitation in Federal Contracting Act passed through the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Senator Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Hawley (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan legislation last year to address the crisis of child labor exploitation in the American workforce.  

Last year, we released an issue brief on the deadly epidemic of migrant children working in dangerous conditions, such as meat packing plants and slaughterhouses. The brief, Raising Voices, Protecting Lives: Whistleblowers at the Intersection of Oversight Failures in the Immigration System and Food Protection Industry, addressed the numerous reports about unaccompanied migrant children found in unlawful situations of child labor and the critical role of whistleblowers to bring oversight to both the food production and immigration systems. Months after the reports surfaced, in July 2023, 16-year-old Duván Tomás Pérez died while working at a poultry plant.  

Taxpayer dollars should not fund companies that exploit child labor, especially of unaccompanied migrant children. We applaud Senators Booker and Hawley for taking critical steps to end child labor exploitation with government contractors. 

Our Immigration counsel, Andrea Meza, commented: 

“While many youth in the United States may choose to work, no child should ever be in a position where they feel forced to do so. It is unacceptable that oversight failures in the food production and immigration systems have created situations in which children’s labor has been exploited for profit. Senators Booker and Hawley, and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs have taken important steps towards ensuring that taxpayer dollars won’t line the pockets of federal contractors who may take advantage of unlawful child labor. This positive development must be followed by stronger oversight of federal contractors writ large, especially in the immigration and food systems.” 

Contact: Mary Allain, Interim Communications Director 

Email: [email protected] 

Phone: (202) 926-3304   

Government Accountability Project   

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.