Reps. Roybal-Allard & DeLauro Respond to GAO Child Labor Report
Agriculture sector leads fatalities among children in the workforce
Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) issued the following statement about today’s release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on child labor – a report which was written as a result of a letter that Reps. Roybal-Allard and DeLauro sent to the GAO in 2016:
“The GAO report’s findings are damning. This report confirms that child labor is contributing to a devastating amount of fatalities in the United States – disproportionately so in the agricultural sector. In that industry, kids are often exposed to dangerous pesticides, heavy machinery, and extreme heat, and they are being killed as a result. That is unacceptable. Our government must take these findings as a call to action and build on them to collect more robust data on injuries and illnesses faced by children in America’s workforce. More than that, we urge the Trump administration and our entire federal government to protect our nation’s youth. That means enforcing policies that uphold the basic well-being of child workers, instead of rolling back child labor protections and lifesaving regulations. But we will not wait for the administration to take the lead. In the Democratic Majority, we will conduct vigorous oversight to ensure existing laws are being properly enforced, and push for changes where necessary to keep child workers safe.”
The new GAO report updates a 2002 report on child labor to discuss the current status of working children in the United States, including those working in agriculture. The report examines child labor in the United States since 2003, including work-related fatalities and injuries to such children for the period, and how the Department of Labor oversees compliance with the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The report confirms that agricultural labor – where children as young as 12 years old can be found working in the fields – has substantial health impacts on minors, as well as the highest rate of work-related deaths out of all industries in which children are allowed to work.