Report Shines Light on Migrant Child Labor Exploitation

Study's author says it 'is the product of multi-system failures that have been decades in the making'

Via Canva

A new report released Monday by the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights examines the causes of migrant child labor exploitation in the United States and lists recommendations to eradicate it.

“The exploitation of child migrants for their labor is not a new problem and is the product of multi-system failures that have been decades in the making,” Dr. Ivón Padilla-Rodriguez, the study’s author, said in a Young Center media release. “Children and their families come to the U.S. to work because they need to work. And they need to work because of political and economic instability in their home countries. Blame should not be placed on those most vulnerable, but rather a profit-driven system and U.S. immigration laws as a whole for not protecting them.”

According to the report, restrictive immigration policies and loopholes in labor laws make it easier for employers to exploit child migrants.

“Without social, economic, or legal support systems, migrant youth’s desperation and vulnerability to exploitation, debt bondage and abuse deepen when they are unable to report abuse to the authorities,” the media release said.

Solutions to eliminate the problem include more Congressional and federal action to update child labor regulations that have not seen significant revises since the 1970s, return to asylum protections that keep families together and more investment to better record and monitor trafficking incidents.

The Young Center shared an executive summary of the report here.

Dr. Padilla-Rodriguez’s full report is here.

The Department of Labor reported that 2023 saw a 14% increase in child labor violations.

“While these enforcement results show we’re holding more employers accountable for exploiting kids, they also show there’s still work to do to prevent children from being exploited in the first place,” Jessica Looman, the DOL’s wage and hour administrator, told the Washington Post in 2023.

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The Stanley Cup Champions and Latinos: With the Florida Panthers winning this season’s Stanley Cup Monday night, our friends at NBC Latino shared a Tuesday Instagram post about how the NHL team has been increasing its outreach to Latinos in South Florida. The post linked back to an Associated Press story from last week that shares more. (Story here)

Puerto Rico Corruption: Speaking of The Associated Press, a Tuesday story noted that Puerto Rico’s Justice Department has sued “at least 30 ex-government officials accused of corruption to recover more than $30 million in public funds.” (Story here)

Get the Sunscreen: Axios Latino's latest post tries to dispel what it calls “anti-sunscreen myths” among the Latino community. “Latinos’ historically lower rates of sunscreen use could expose them to dangerous conditions,” the story notes. (Story here)

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