White House Scrambling Over Child Worker Issue 

(FiveNation.com)- On Monday, the US Department of Labor announced that it was creating a new interagency task force in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services to combat child labor. 

According to the Labor Department, in the last five years, there has been a 69 percent increase in the number of children illegally employed by US companies. In its investigations during FY2022, the Labor Department found 835 companies were employing over 3,800 children illegally. 

In addition to creating an interagency task force, the Labor Department is establishing a nationwide child labor strategic enforcement initiative using “data-driven, worker-focused strategies” to launch investigations in areas where violations of child labor laws are “most likely to occur,” the statement said. 

Under the new task force, the Labor Department’s Office of the Solicitor will be able to employ every available enforcement tool, including injunctions, penalties, and the prevention of the movement of goods made through child labor. 

Funding for the Labor Department’s enforcement agencies will also be increased while new materials on child labor laws will be made available to unaccompanied minors and potential sponsors, the statement said. 

The Department also called on Congress to increase the penalties for companies found to be violating child labor laws, arguing that the current $15,138 maximum penalty isn’t a high enough deterrent for profitable companies. 

The Labor Department’s announcement comes just days after the New York Times reported on the exploitation of unaccompanied illegal alien children by factories in the United States making popular name-brand products. 

According to the New York Times, Hearthside Food Solutions, a Grand Rapids, Michigan processing plant that produces Lucky Charms and Cheetos, employs many underage workers who crossed into the United States from the southern border. 

Additionally, child workers were found sewing the “Made in America” tags into shirts by J. Crew, processing the milk used in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and making socks for Fruit of the Loom.