Labor Leaders Introduce New, Bold Legislation to End Abusive Child Labor

Protecting Children Act is the most robust proposal yet to renew commitment to confronting child labor violations.

WASHINGTON – Today, Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Workforce Protections Subcommittee Ranking Member Alma Adams (NC-12) announced their plans to introduce new legislation—the Protecting Children Act—to finally end child labor in America. The bill provides federal worker protections agencies with the tools and resources they need to deter violations and prevent harm to children from intensive work in dangerous jobs.

Recent, high-profile news reports have underscored that children are continuing to be illegally employed in hazardous jobs and working conditions.  According to the Wage and Hour Division, the number of children employed in violation of child labor laws has nearly quadrupled and the number of children illegally employed in dangerous jobs has almost doubled since 2015.

“In 2023, oppressive child labor practices should be a lesson taught in history classes—not an ongoing crisis across America. Regrettably, recent reporting has demonstrated that children continue to lose their lives and suffer devastating injuries because they work in hazardous jobs,” said Ranking Member Scott. “Children should be learning and growing in schools, not risking their safety and lives in dangerous workplaces. The Protecting Children Act takes long-overdue steps to strengthen child labor laws and implement serious consequences for endangering children on the job.  This is the bold solution we need to help finally put an end to abusive child labor in America.”

The Protecting Children Act renews our commitment to ending oppressive child labor by:

  • Increasing civil and criminal penalties for child labor violations, unsafe workplaces, and workplace injuries and deaths experienced by young workers;
  • Strengthening WHD’s ability to prevent the sale and movement of goods produced in violation of child labor rules;
  • Expanding capacity for enforcement, research, and data;
  • Improving the process for updating child labor rules and prohibiting any future weakening of those rules; and
  • Launching public information initiatives to keep policymakers and public informed about child labor enforcement and training young workers on their rights.

Read the fact sheet for the Protecting Children Act here.

Read the section-by-section summary of the Protecting Children Act here.

Read the bill text of the Protecting Children Act here.


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