Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and his colleagues have introduced the Child Labor Accountability Act of 2023 – a bipartisan bill aimed at limiting child labor which saw a massive increase in Fiscal Year 2023.
According to Sen. Rubio’s press release, the recent rise in child labor demonstrates that it is time for the Department of Labor (DOL) to receive support in the form of “transparency, accountability, and resources."
Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) joined Sen. Rubio in this effort.
The bill would make sure that Congress is provided with a “detailed annual report” from DOL on child labor violations. Simultaneously, the legislation would provide DOL with additional time to “obtain a court order to halt the shipment of goods produced with unlawful child labor.”
Sen. Rubio mentioned that minors need to be protected from “abusive scenarios” such as child labor.
“Above all, minors in America should not be exploited, and U.S. law needs to be strengthened to make sure these children are protected from abusive scenarios. This bipartisan legislation will ensure Congress receives more information to better address these illegal practices,” said Rubio.
Sen. Padilla said, “We must do everything in our power to crack down on companies illegally profiting off the exploitation of child labor — including unaccompanied migrant children. That’s why I’m proud to join Senators Rubio, Hickenlooper, and Marshall, working across the aisle to expand the window in which the Department of Labor can hold companies accountable for these unacceptable abuses and require more comprehensive annual reports for Congress on federal child labor law violations.”
Moreover, Sen. Hickenlooper stated that this bill would “increase accountability.”
“Across the country, kids are being exploited for low-paid, dangerous labor– especially vulnerable migrant children. Our bill will increase accountability and transparency, and make it easier to identify and stop child labor,” said Sen. Hickenlooper.
Finally, Sen. Marshall said that a violation of child labor laws should be “met with strict and swift penalties.”
“Violating child labor laws is a heinous crime that should be met with strict and swift penalties. Congress should have access to all of the information when looking into these abuses that are targeting children. The additional reporting required in this bill is essential for us to better combat child labor offenses in the future,” said Sen. Marshall.