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Child labor probe spreads to meatpacking, produce firms in 11 US states: NBC News

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-06-09 09:35
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NEW YORK -- A federal investigation into Guatemalan children working in the US in violation of child labor laws has expanded to include meatpacking and produce companies that have allegedly hired underage migrants in at least 11 US states, reported NBC News on Wednesday.

"Investigators from the Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security Investigations and the Justice Department, as well as White House officials, are participating in the expanded inquiry," said the report. The meatpacking and produce companies under scrutiny for possible child labor violations operate across the country in locations from Virginia to Colorado.

The investigation is part of a broader push by the Joe Biden administration's agencies, including the Labor Department, to crack down on child labor violations, according to the report. The Labor Department has documented a 69 percent increase in children employed in violation of child labor laws since 2018.

The investigators would not name any of the companies currently under investigation. Penalties could range from civil fines to criminal charges, the officials said, but no charges have been filed.

Earlier this year, NBC News reported that the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department were trying to determine whether a human smuggling scheme brought migrant children to work for multiple companies in the meatpacking sector nationwide.

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