Washington- The illegal employment of child labor in the United States has increased by 69% since 2018, the Department of Labor reported on Monday, which announced new measures to combat the labor exploitation of minors, many of them immigrants.
“In the last fiscal period, the Department found that 835 investigated companies had employed more than 3,800 minors in violation of labor laws,” it said in a joint statement with the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Secretary of Health, Xavier Becerra, said in the note that all children in this country, whatever their circumstances, deserve “the protection and care” that one expects for their own children.RELATED
In the United States, there is a flow of migrant children who come from Latin America “fleeing violence and poverty and most of them do not have relatives” in the host country, the text indicated.
“We will continue to do our part to protect the well-being of unaccompanied minors by providing them with appropriate care while in our custody,” Becerra added.
The maximum fine that can be imposed for a labor law violation is $15,138 per minor, which is “not enough” to deter large companies that turn their profits, according to the statement.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre added at a press conference that the decision to create an intergovernmental working group to combat child exploitation makes it clear that the Executive “will continue to investigate and hold companies accountable.”
“We also need Congress to act, to provide the resources that this Administration has long requested to better enforce child labor laws,” said Jean-Pierre, who stressed that child labor is “unacceptable” and “abuse.” .
The announcement comes one day after The New York Times reported in a report that many migrant minors who arrive in the US without the company of their parents end up doing jobs that nobody wants in very harsh conditions.
Specifically, the newspaper spoke with more than 100 migrant minors in 20 states who work in slaughterhouses in Delaware, Mississippi and North Carolina; as roofers in Florida and Tennessee; or as night-shift lumber sawyers in South Dakota.
In the middle of this month, the Department of Labor announced the resolution of one of the largest cases in the agency’s history involving illegal child labor.
Packers Sanitation Services (PSSI) will pay more than $1.5 million in fines for illegally employing at least 102 children in dangerous conditions at 13 meat processing plants.
Government inspectors found that the boys, aged 13 to 17, were working night shifts cleaning dangerous industrial equipment, including chainsaws, using toxic chemical compounds. At least three of them suffered injuries.
Currently, the Department of Labor has more than 600 investigations underway into possible illegal employment of minors.