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Illegal child labor is on the rise in a tight job market

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in CNN or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI), a key player in U.S. food safety sanitation, has been accused of hiring 31 underage workers for significant meat industry firms such as Cargill and JBS USA
• The Department of Labor disclosed these occurrences, which took place in Minnesota and Nebraska, last November

🔭 The context: Recent reports reveal a spike in child labor infringements in the U.S., implicating several high-profile brands for exploiting minors in unsafe environments 
• Amidst a strained labor market, numerous employers are turning to the most affordable labor options, leading some state lawmakers to consider legislation that would weaken protections for young workers

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The widespread violation of child labor laws highlights a serious ethical issue in our current economic system
• In many instances, children of recent migrants are found working extended hours under difficult conditions, raising questions about the equitable and humane treatment of workers

⏭️ What's next: An interagency task force focused on child labor has been set up by the Department of Labor, charged with combatting these breaches
• From October 1, 2022, to July 20, 2023, the department resolved 765 child labor incidents, identifying 4,474 illegally employed minors and levying over $6.6 million in fines against employers.

💬 One quote: “Child labor is an issue that gets to the heart of who we are as a country and who we want to be. We believe that any child working in a dangerous or hazardous environment is one child too many” (Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor)

📈 One stat: There has been a 44% increase in the number of children illegally employed and an 87% increase in penalties compared to the same period last year, according to the Department of Labor

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