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Foxx, Walberg, Chavez-DeRemer Demand Answers from Su on Trafficking of Migrant Children

WASHINGTON – Today, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su demanding information about recent reports that migrant children – many of whom were under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services – are being trafficked and working illegally in the United States. 

In the letter, the Members write: “The New York Times published an article describing… concerns that many children are being trafficked and forced to work illegally following their release from federal custody… The article highlights the government’s failure to protect these children by demonstrating a breakdown between HHS, the agency responsible for sheltering these children while they are in federal custody… and DOL, the agency responsible for ensuring these children are not exploited in employment after they have left federal custody.” 

The letter continues: “This matter is especially troubling because a breakdown in government responsibility has led to the trafficking of migrant children in violation of our nation’s human trafficking and child labor laws. Therefore, it is important for the Committee to understand what information DOL provided to HHS and DHS as well as whether these agencies are working together to keep migrant children out of harm’s way.” 

The Members conclude by requesting several documents, including:  
  1. All documents and communications transmitted between DOL, HHS, and DHS regarding the vetting of sponsors or possible sponsors of migrant children leaving federal custody;
  1. All documents and communications transmitted between DOL and state law enforcement officials regarding reports of sponsors exploiting migrant children;
  1. All documents and communications transmitted to or received from any other federal agency—including the White House, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Department of Justice—following DOL’s recognition of the increase in migrant child labor;
  1. All information in DOL’s or the DOL-led Interagency Taskforce to Combat Child Labor Exploitation’s possession pertaining to any federal employee who has been found to have supported child labor trafficking, covered up instances of child labor trafficking, or attempted to silence the reporting of possible instances of child labor trafficking to appropriate federal law enforcement;
  1. The number of migrant children who have been identified by DOL as victims of child labor trafficking who were at any point under the care of HHS’ Unaccompanied Children (UC) Program; and
  1. A list of investigations and details regarding the investigations conducted by DOL that involve victims of child labor trafficking who were previously under the care of the UC Program.

Read the full letter here.

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