CWS Calls for Change, Increased Protections for Unaccompanied Children Following NYT Report

March 1, 2023

Washington, D.C.— Following the release of a New York Times report detailing the large-scale exploitation and abuse of migrant children across the United States, CWS today called on national, state, and local governments to improve protections for unaccompanied immigrant children and their families and hold corporations accountable for the clear violation of child labor laws. 

The report, published earlier this week, found that hundreds of immigrant children–many of whom are unaccompanied–are working in unsafe and unlawful conditions in at least 20 states across the United States. Over a dozen major companies, such as Cheerios, Fruit of the Loom, and Ford were found to be using child labor. Not only are these working conditions physically unsafe; they undermine the dignity of children who have come to the United States to seek safety and impact social, emotional, educational, and mental well-being. 

“The findings of the recently published New York Times investigation reveal heartbreaking and unconscionable exploitation of unaccompanied children at large-scale companies across the United States. Unfortunately, this report illustrates what we have known for some time: there is a failure across our country’s protection systems that is leaving the most vulnerable–in this case, children–in a position to be overlooked and exploited by those in power.” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy for CWS. “CWS remains dedicated to serving unaccompanied children fleeing violence, persecution, and desperation. Through our years of commitment to this work, it is clear that Americans across all walks of life agree that all children deserve protection. It is time for our national, state, and local leaders to reflect this basic and foundational ideal by increasing protections for immigrant children and their families and preventing this exploitation and abuse in the future.”

You can join us today in demanding more from lawmakers and helping unaccompanied children by: 

  1. Donating here to support unaccompanied migrant children.
  2. Taking Action: Click here to urge your Members of Congress to increase protections for unaccompanied children by fully restoring all asylum protections, fight child labor exploitation, and robustly invest in home studies and post-release services.
  3. Learning More: To learn more about CWS’s Children Services program, please visit: