Senate Committee Passes Hawley, Booker Bipartisan Legislation to Crack Down on Child Labor, Hold Companies Accountable for Violations

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Today the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) bipartisan Preventing Child Labor Exploitation in Federal Contracting Act to prohibit companies that engage in illegal child labor practices from securing coveted federal government contracts.

“Companies that illegally employ children have no business leveraging lucrative federal government contracts for corporate gain. This bipartisan legislation would hold companies’ feet to the fire for engaging in child labor exploitation and rightfully hold offenders accountable,” said Senator Hawley.

The Preventing Child Labor Exploitation in Federal Contracting Act would:

  • Require companies entering into federal contracts to annually represent, and certify when bidding on a contract, that they have not been found in violation of the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
  • Prohibit federal agencies from awarding federal government contracts to violating companies that have failed to complete corrective measures. Companies would remain ineligible for federal contracts for a period of at least four years.
  • Render stiff penalties for failure to make required representations or certifications of child labor violations.

Read the full bill text here.


During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last October, Senator Hawley questioned Robin Dunn Marcos, Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, about the 85,000 children the Biden Administration has lost track of, leaving them vulnerable to human traffickers and dangerous child labor practices. Senator Hawley also sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding a full-scale effort be made to locate the nearly 85,000 missing migrant children.

In September of 2023, Senator Hawley sent a letter to Tyson Foods CEO Donnie King, demanding answers after a disturbing report from The New York Times exposed unsafe, illegal child labor practices within the company.

In May of 2023, Senator Hawley introduced the Corporate Responsibility for Child Labor Elimination Act, legislation compelling large corporations to eradicate unlawful child labor from their operations in the United States.

In a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Senator Hawley demanded answers from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over reports detailing 250,000 unaccompanied migrant children entering the U.S. in just two years and the tragic consequences this portends for potential child exploitation.