Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley, Ernst Call for Federal Review of Alleged Child Labor Violations in Iowa

Jan 18, 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called on three federal agencies to investigate allegations of human trafficking and child labor.  Allegations brought to the senators’ attention by constituents raise concerns that trafficking networks may be operating in Iowa, exploiting young people and skirting immigration and labor laws in Iowa.
 
In a letter today to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the departments of Justice and Labor, Grassley and Ernst requested a meeting with investigative authorities to discuss details of the allegations.
 
Grassley has previously raised concerns about human traffickers exploiting undocumented children for cheap labor, including an instance in which at least six undocumented Guatemalan boys were trafficked to an Ohio egg farm to work in dangerous and substandard conditions.
 
The full letter from Grassley and Ernst follows: 
 
January 18, 2019
 
The Honorable Matthew Whitaker
Acting Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
 
The Honorable Alexander Acosta
Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
 
The Honorable Ronald Vitiello
Acting Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
 
Dear Acting Attorney General Whitaker, Secretary Acosta, and Acting Director Vitiello:
 
We write to you today about serious allegations we have received regarding potential child trafficking and child labor violations occurring in our home state of Iowa. We believe these allegations warrant further investigation, as such employment practices by a business could implicate serious violations of labor and immigration laws and potential criminal activity.
 
Given the gravity of these allegations, we request a meeting with the principals of the respective and appropriate investigative authorities within your agencies as soon as possible, so that we can share the details of the allegations we have received and discuss next steps.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please direct any follow-up questions to Aakash Singh of Senator Grassley’s staff and Corey Becker of Senator Ernst’s staff.
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles E. Grassley
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
 
Joni K. Ernst
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary 
 
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