Chairman Blumenauer Leads Democratic Ways and Means Colleagues in Sounding the Alarm Over Reports of Forced Labor in Sugarcane Fields in the Dominican Republic

October 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)—the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade—today led his Committee colleagues in issuing the following statement regarding reports of forced labor in sugarcane fields in the Dominican Republic: 

“Disturbing news reports have recently detailed appalling conditions under which sugarcane workers of Haitian-Dominican descent continue to live and labor to produce sugar in the Dominican Republic for U.S. consumption. These reports are deeply alarming and necessitate a swift and thorough investigation.

“It has been more than ten years since a Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) labor submission requested the U.S. government investigate human trafficking, forced and child labor, hazardous working and living conditions, and other labor rights violations in the Dominican sugar industry. Despite attempts to address those problems, the recent reports raise grave concerns of continued inhumane conditions that we simply cannot tolerate in our supply chains. We are eager to work with the Biden administration, which is renewing America’s commitment to human rights and labor fairness, to ensure that the United States is aggressively working to end to these outrageous, abusive practices.”

Chairman Blumenauer was joined in issuing the statement by U.S. Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI),  Dwight Evans (D-PA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Steven Horsford (D-NV), and Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. VI).