Press Releases

VIDEO: Hickenlooper Acts to Stop Child Migrant Labor Exploitation

Apr 6, 2023

“This is one of those things that demands everyone’s attention.”

In case you missed it, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper appeared on José Díaz-Balart Reports today to discuss his recent letter with U.S. Senator Alex Padilla calling on the CEOs of 27 major companies accused of exploiting migrant children for their labor to take immediate steps to stop these violations of federal labor law.

In their letter, the Senators note that migrant children have reportedly been working at their facilities in unsafe occupations, in hazardous conditions, and other unlawful circumstances. The Senators insist the companies carefully examine hiring procedures, workplace safety requirements, and compliance with wage and hour laws as they apply to minors.

Watch HERE, or see highlights below. 

On companies trying to fill labor vacancies:

“I don’t think anybody can defend companies that are hiring kids as young as 13 to help them get back to normal. Everyone is trying to get back to normal after COVID, but that does not allow companies the chance to cut corners and knowingly exploit and abuse kids. Some of those kids were working all night in a slaughterhouse. That’s unconscionable.”

On what the next steps are:

“A number of [the 27 companies] have said: ‘We’ve received your letter, we’re working on this, and we will get back to you quickly.’ It would be nice if… they stepped forward and say: ‘We’re accountable. We recognize this was a problem that should never have happened, and we’re taking steps so A: it doesn’t happen again, and B: as an industry, [that we’re] going to lead the effort to stamp out this exploitive practice of having kids as young as 13 working in dangerous situations.’”

On ensuring that migrant children aren’t exploited during the immigration process:

“We all have a responsibility to step up and say what is that ecosystem? What’s the chain of command by which we can make sure these kids are protected? While they go through the adjudication process, while their refugee status or their opportunities to stay permanently in this country, as that goes through the formal paperwork, how do we make sure they’re not being exploited and abused?”


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