U.S. Senator Bob Casey: Protect Children From Exploitative Labor and Dangerous Conditions

Casey StatementPhoto: U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh applauding the recent creation of an interagency task force to combat illegal child labor and providing recommendations for areas on which the task force should focus. As Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, Senator Casey also laid out his commitment to working with the Department of Labor to utilize the full scope of government resources to protect children from exploitative labor and dangerous conditions in the workplace.

“I write to commend the Department of Labor on its recent announcement regarding new efforts to combat exploitative child labor. Alarmingly, child labor is on the rise, with a 69 percent increase in violations since 2018. Recent reporting indicates that companies across the Nation are taking using vulnerable children for labor, some of whom are migrants who came to this country without their parents. Many of these children are working in dangerous or hazardous conditions, are struggling or have dropped out of school, or are being taken advantage of by predatory actors,” Senator Casey said. “Children do not belong in factories or working during hours where they should be studying, spending time with their families, or just simply being children.”

In the letter, Senator Casey urged the Department of Labor’s new task force to strengthen regulations and use all existing authorities across the interagency to hold perpetrators accountable across supply chains and to overhaul data collection and coordination efforts to identify the extent of these violations and where to effectively target preventive measures. To further protect vulnerable children, Senator Casey reiterated Congress’ role to provide the necessary resources for enforcement agencies, update the existing penalties structure for violating companies, guarantee protections for those who report offenses, and update the Fair Labor Standards Act to reflect the challenges of modern labor market.

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The full text of the letter to Labor Secretary Walsh can be found here.

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