Five Recommendations for Protecting Unaccompanied Children from Labor Exploitation

March 10, 2023

A recent New York Times report brought into devastating relief U.S. companies’ labor exploitation of unaccompanied children—a uniquely vulnerable group of children who have fled to the United States without parents or legal guardians. Abuses described include 12-year-olds employed at automotive suppliers, limbs severed at factories, and spines broken at construction sites. This disturbing account demands a whole-of-government response aimed at eradicating labor exploitation of unaccompanied children, protecting these children’s safety, and empowering them to thrive in communities across the nation.

KIND has five key recommendations for achieving those objectives. Properly implemented, these actions will not only help root out labor exploitation, but also ensure that older unaccompanied children can access lawful, safe, and appropriate work often critical to their personal development, financial security, and community integration.

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