Sen. Brown introduces legislation to counter child exploitation in the labor force
A proposed federal law could place harsher penalties on businesses that break child labor laws in the country.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown along Senators Bob Casey, Patty Murray and Congresswoman Rosa Delauro have introduced legislation to protect children from exploitative child labor practices called Children Harmed in Life-threatening or Dangerous (CHILD) Labor Act.
The CHILD Labor Act seeks to hold companies and individuals that take advantage of children in the workforce accountable by introducing stronger penalties. It would also open the possibility for children that have been seriously injured by their employers to sue them.
It also expands child labor provisions to hold suppliers and subcontractors throughout the supply chain responsible and authorizes the Department of Labor to label goods that have been produced with child labor.
"Our grandparents and great grandparents fought to end child labor. But we know that some companies will do anything to make a little extra profit – and some even sink as low as exploiting children. Right now, weak rules and loopholes allow too many companies to violate child labor laws," Brown said. "With our bill, we can better protect children and hold companies, contractors and employers accountable with harsher penalties and stricter rules. We should not have child labor in the United States of America, in the year 2023."
According to Brown's office, The CHILD Labor Act would increase the civil penalty amount for child labor violations from $11,000 to $151,380, increase the criminal penalty fine from $10,000 to $750,000 and require any person who violates child labor provisions to be liable to each employee affected by the violation in an amount no less than $75,000.
It would also require federal contracts to contain child labor provisions that prohibit the use of oppressive child labor.
The legislation would also require the Secretary to report to Congress data and recommendations concerning overall trends for work-related injuries, illnesses or deaths to congress on an annual basis.