Allied Progress Launches New Ad Campaign Demanding Secretary Acosta’s Resignation

Ad Highlights Acosta’s Testimony That He Considers His Handling of the Epstein Case a “Point of Pride”

Watch ‘Point of Pride’

Washington D.C. – As Labor Secretary Acosta wraps up a combative and desperate press conference in which he once again failed to take any responsibility or offer remorse for allowing an alleged child sex predator Jeffrey Epstein walk the streets the last ten years, consumer watchdog group Allied Progress amplified the growingbipartisan calls for his immediate resignation with a new digital ad campaign. The ad starting tomorrow on Facebook and YouTube features footage from Acosta’s DOL nomination hearing where he described his plea deal that allowed Epstein to escape serious prison time and enjoy work-release privileges as a “point of pride” for him – a deal that was hatched without the knowledge of Epstein’s victims, which is why a federal judge later ruled Acosta broke the law. Watch ‘Point of Pride’ HERE.

Allied Progress also applauded the announcement from the House Oversight Committee that they will hold hearings later this month to examine Acosta’s actions in the Epstein case.

“Secretary Acosta stood before the American people today not to accept responsibility and resign, but to try to rationalize letting a monster loose,” said Kyle Herrig, senior advisor to Allied Progress. “Serial child sex abuse is at the top of the list of crimes so heinous and unspeakable, it cannot be minimized or justifiably swept under the rug. But that’s exactly what Secretary Acosta did today and, more importantly, when he negotiated a minimal sentence for a predator who used his wealth and power to harm the powerless. He must resign now.”  

Among Alex Acosta’s key responsibilities as Labor Secretary is to oversee Departmental efforts to combat human trafficking. How can Acosta be trusted to treat that responsibility seriously after dodging a question whether he would have handled the Epstein case any differently today?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Oversees His Department’s Efforts To Combat Human Trafficking And Promote The Interests Of Working Women—Despite His Troubling Plea Deal For Jeffrey Epstein’s Child Sex Trafficking Case.

The Department Of Labor Has An Office Dedicated To Fighting Human Trafficking—Even Though Secretary Alex Acosta Arranged A Plea Deal For Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein That Let Him Plead Guilty To A Felony “Prostitution” Charge Involving A 14-Year-Old Sex Trafficking Victim.

The Department Of Labor Has An Office Dedicated To Combatting Child Labor And Human Trafficking.

The Department Of Labor’s Office Of Child Labor, Forced Labor, And Human Trafficking (Within Its Bureau Of International Labor Affairs) Is Dedicated To Combatting Child Labor And Human Trafficking In The U.S. And Around The World.“The mission of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the United States […] and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. With 25 years of experience, the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT) in USDOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) is a world leader in the fight to eradicate these labor abuses.” [“Child Labor, Forced Labor & Human Trafficking,” Department of Labor, accessed 02/07/19]

Under The Terms Of The Deal Reached With Alex Acosta, Jeffrey Epstein Pled Guilty To A Felony Prostitution Charge Involving A Minor—Even Though The 14-Year-Old “Prostitute” Was Actually A Child Sex Trafficking Victim.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Plea Deal Allowed Him To Plead Guilty To Two Felony Prostitution Charges, Including “One Offense Against One Underage Girl, Who Was Labeled A Prostitute, Even Though She Was 14, Which Is Well Under The Age Of Consent.” “Despite substantial physical evidence and multiple witnesses backing up the girls’ stories, the secret deal allowed Epstein to enter guilty pleas to two felony prostitution charges. Epstein admitted to committing only one offense against one underage girl, who was labeled a prostitute, even though she was 14, which is well under the age of consent — 18 in Florida.” [Julie K. Brown, “How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime,”Miami Herald, 11/28/18] 

  • According To Human Rights Attorney Yasmin Vafa, Epstein’s Crimes Are Considered Child Sex Trafficking Under Federal Law—And He Could Have Gone To Jail For Life For Them. “‘It’s just outrageous how they minimized his crimes and devalued his victims by calling them prostitutes,’ said Yasmin Vafa, a human rights attorney and executive director of Rights4Girls, which is working to end the sexual exploitation of girls and young women. ‘There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Under federal law, it’s called child sex trafficking — whether Epstein pimped them out to others or not. It’s still a commercial sex act — and he could have been jailed for the rest of his life under federal law,’ she said.” [Julie K. Brown, “How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime,” Miami Herald, 11/28/18]

As Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta Is Member Of The President’s Interagency Task Force (PITF) To Monitor And Combat Trafficking In Persons And Donald Trump Has Personally Thanked Acosta For His Work On The Task Force…Even Though The Administration Could Actually Be Exacerbating Human Trafficking Issues.

The Department Of Labor Is Legally Required To Be A Member Of The President’s Interagency Task Force (PITF) To Monitor And Combat Trafficking In Persons.“The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) is a cabinet-level entity created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, which consists of some 15 agencies across the federal government responsible for coordinating U.S. government-wide efforts to combat trafficking in persons. […] The agencies of the PITF include the following: […] Department of Labor (DOL).” [“President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons,” U.S. Department of State, accessed 02/08/19]

As Secretary, Alex Acosta Is Required By Law To Represent The Department Of Labor On The PITF.  “(b) Appointment- The President shall appoint the members of the Task Force, which shall include the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of Central Intelligence, and such other officials as may be designated by the President.” [“Text, H.R.3244 – Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000”, Congress.Gov, 11/08/99]

Under Alex Acosta, The Department Of Labor Is Supposed To Develop “High-Impact Human Trafficking Investigations And Prosecutions.”

Alex Acosta’s Department Of Labor Is Supposed To “Develop High-Impact Human Trafficking Investigations And Prosecutions” In Conjunction With The Department Of Justice And Department Of Homeland Security. “DOJ, in coordination with DOL and DHS, continued to develop high-impact human trafficking investigations and prosecutions through the highly effective Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) Initiative, leading implementation of the Initiative in all six Phase II ACTeam Districts, and delivering advanced training and strategic guidance to Phase II ACTeam federal agents, prosecutors, and victim assistance professionals.” [“Report on U.S. Government Efforts To Combat Trafficking In Persons,” President’s Interagency Task Force On Human Trafficking, December 2017]

  • The ACTeam Initiative’s Mission Included An Intent To “Vindicate The Rights Of Human Trafficking Victims, Bring Traffickers To Justice And Dismantle Human Trafficking Networks. In 2011, The ACTeam initiative was announced, “[t]he Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today the launch of a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to streamline federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses. […] The ACTeams will focus on developing federal criminal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions to vindicate the rights of human trafficking victims, bring traffickers to justice and dismantle human trafficking networks.” [Press Release, U.S. Department of Justice, 02/01/11]

Alex Acosta Has Touted His Own Commitment To Fighting Trafficking, Claiming That The Labor Department Defends “The Rights Of All People To Live Free Of […] Human Trafficking.”

In January 2018, Alex Acosta Stated That The Department Of Labor Would “‘Act To End Exploitation And Abusive Labor Practices At Home And Abroad.’” “U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta issued the following statement on the start of Human Trafficking Awareness Month: ‘During this month, we shine a light on the offenses of human trafficking and modern slavery, and recommit to ending practices that harm individuals, families, and communities. The Department of Labor will continue to call on our trading partners to take strong steps against trafficking, offering our assistance where requested, and enforcing trade agreement provisions. We must act to end exploitation and abusive labor practices at home and abroad.’” [Press Release, U.S. Department of Labor, 01/02/18]

  • In September 2018, Acosta Claimed That The Department Of Labor Was “Defending The Rights Of All People To Live Free Of Child Labor, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, And Modern Slavery.” “’These reports represent one of the Department of Labor’s key contributions to the global effort to protect workers in the United States and around the world by defending the rights of all people to live free of child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, and modern slavery,’ said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.” [Press Release, U.S. Department of Labor, 09/20/18]

Meanwhile, The Trump Administration Has Cut All Funding For Survivors’ Legal Representation And Is Reportedly Exacerbating Human Trafficking With Its Aggressive Immigration Policies.

In 2018, The Trump Administration Cut All Funding For Legal Representation Of Survivors Of Human Trafficking.”[…][A]nti-trafficking advocates across the US are warning that a sudden decision by the Trump administration, effective immediately, to cut all funding for legal representation for survivors  […] In a series of urgent appeals to the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the American Bar Association, members of Congress, survivors, advocates and law enforcement have called for a reversal of the decision they say will deny victims of human trafficking their legal rights.” [Annie Kelly and Mei-Ling McNamara, “Outcry as Trump restricts funding for sex-trafficking survivors,”The Guardian, 07/06/18]

Trump’s Immigration Agenda Is Preventing Victims Of Human Trafficking From Reporting Their Abuse.“Trump’s agenda is worse than ineffectual, it is positively harmful. One of the primary ways it promotes human trafficking is through aggressive immigration enforcement, which makes victims even more afraid to report abuse to the authorities. The more credible the threat of deportation, the greater control a trafficker has over his victims.” [Jay Shooster, “Trump Isn’t Fighting Human Trafficking, He’s Facilitating It,” Just Security, 05/02/17]

As Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta Oversees The Department’s Civil Rights Center, Which Has Enforcement Authority Over Harassment Complaints For Federally Funded Programs Such As Job Corps, Which Provides Services For Vulnerable Youths Across The Country.

The Department Of Labor’s Civil Rights Center Has Enforcement Authority Over Harassment Complaints For Programs And Activities That Receive Federal Financial Assistance.

The Department Of Labor’s Civil Rights Center Has Enforcement Authority, Under Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, Over Harassment Complaints For Programs And Activities That Receive Federal Financial Assistance. “Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit specific types of job discrimination in certain workplaces. The Department of Labor has two agencies which deal with EEO monitoring and enforcement, the Civil Rights Center and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. […] [The] Civil Rights Center, part of the Office of Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, oversees EEO in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. CRC also assures equal opportunity for all applicants to and employees of DOL. […] The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs oversees employers holding federal contracts and subcontracts.” [“Equal Employment Opportunity,” U.S. Department of Labor, accessed 02/21/19]

  • DOL’s Civil Rights Center Enforces Against Harassment. “The Civil Rights Center (CRC), Office of Internal Enforcement enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and is responsible for ensuring equal employment opportunity (EEO) for all DOL employees and applicants for employment with DOL. […] [Including] Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, genetic information, parental status and/or sexual orientation […]” [“Resources for Employees with Concerns about Improper Conduct in the DOL Workplace,” U.S. Department of Labor, accessed 02/22/19]
  • Jobs Corps, A Program Under DOL, Provides Services 60,000 Youths Each Year.“Currently, Job Corps serves approximately 60,000 youths annually through 120 Job Corps centers throughout the country.” [“About Job Corps”, Job Corps, accessed 02/21/19]
  • Job Corps Is Subject To DOL’s Civil Rights Center’s Authority. The Center is empowered to “administer and enforce the laws that apply to recipients of financial assistance under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and its predecessor, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA); American Job Center partners listed in WIOA/WIA Section 121(b) that offer programs or activities through the workforce development system; […] examples include […] Job Corp.” [“What We Do”, Civil Rights Center, accessed 02/21/19]

As Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta Oversees The Department’s Women’s Bureau, The Only Federal Office Dedicated To Promoting The Interests Of Working Women—And Acosta Defended The Trump Administration’s Budget That Slashed The Bureau’s Funding By 75%.

The Department Of Labor’s Women’s Bureau Was Created To “Safeguard The Interests Of Working Women” and Is “The Only Federal Agency Mandated To Represent The Needs” Of Working Women.

The Department Of Labor’s Women’s Bureau Was Formed In 1920 “To Promote The Welfare Of Wage-Earning Women, [And] Improve Their Working Conditions.” “The Women’s Bureau was created by law in 1920 to formulate standards and policies to promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.” [“About Us,” U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, accessed 02/21/19]

  • The Women’s Bureau “Develops Policies And Standards And Conducts Inquiries To Safeguard The Interests Of Working Women.” “The Women’s Bureau develops policies and standards and conducts inquiries to safeguard the interests of working women; to advocate for their equality and economic security for themselves and their families; and to promote quality work environments.” [“About Us,” U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, accessed 02/21/19]
  • The Women’s Bureau Is “The Only Federal Agency Mandated To Represent The Needs Of Wage-Earning Women In The Public Policy Process […]”[“About Us,” U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, accessed 02/21/19]
  • The Women’s Bureau Provides “Guidance And Input To Other Agencies Regarding The Structure And Implementation Of A Wide Range Of Programs.” The Bureau achieves this mission by: planning and executing the Bureau’s in-house research agenda, which includes both qualitative research and quantitative analysis and providing guidance and input to other agencies regarding the structure and implementation of a wide range of programs, policies and initiatives with implications for women workers.” [“FY 2018 Congressional Budget Justification Departmental Management,” U.S. Department of Labor, 2018]
  • The Women’s Bureau Influence Has Been “Enormous,” With A Strong Influence On Federal Equal Pay, Paid Leave, And Earned Sick Time Policies. “While the Women’s Bureau’s line item constitutes less than one percent of the Department’s total budget, its impact for working women has been enormous. This small agency has worked on high priority policy issues such as paid leave and earned sick time, as well as highlighting the needs of women veterans and women in the trades. The Women’s Bureau has been at the forefront of addressing equal pay and ensuring breastfeeding and pregnancy accommodations. Issues that the Bureau once raised as ‘women’s issues’ have become the standard for all workers today.” [Wendy Chun-Hoon, “Stop The Attack On The Women’s Bureau,” The Huffington Post, 06/07/17]

Alex Acosta Defended The Trump Administration’s Budget That Gutted The Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau, Eliminating 70% Of Its Staff And Dismantling All Ten Of Its Regional Offices.

Alex Acosta Defended The Trump Administration’s Proposed “75 Percent Cut To The [Women’s] Bureau’s Budget, From $11.5M Down To Just Under Three, Including A Complete Dismantling Of All 10 Of Its Regional Offices.” “Today, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta heads to the Hill to defend the Trump Administration’s proposed 20 percent cut to the US Department of Labor’s FY18 budget. As part of these cuts, the Administration aims to all but wipe out the Women’s Bureau – the sole federal agency charged with advocating for working women and for the economic security of women and their families. Despite singing its praises in a blog published yesterday celebrating the Women’s Bureau’s 97th anniversary, the Administration is calling for a 75 percent cut to the Bureau’s budget, from $11.5M down to just under three, including a complete dismantling of all 10 of its regional offices.” [Wendy Chun-Hoon, “Stop The Attack On The Women’s Bureau,”The Huffington Post, 06/07/17]

During A Hearing On The Labor Department’s FY 2018 Budget, Alex Acosta Defended The Trump Administration’s Drastic Cuts To The Women’s Bureau, While Claiming That He Was “Glad That The Women’s Bureau Is Within This Budget.” 

  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT): “The budget also proposes to cut funding for the women’s bureau. $10 million eliminates 70 percent of its staff. This is a critical function to improving work environments and opportunities for women. Pretty much unacceptable to slash its budget when today women make 80 cents on the dollar. Taken as a whole the president is proposing to cut the Department of Labor by $2.3 billion.  It’s a reduction of 19 percent.” [“H APPROPS HEARING ON THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR F.Y. 2018 BUDGET,” CQ-Roll Call, 06/07/17]
  • Alex Acosta: “The Women’s Bureau as well as I think an important part of DOL. And one of the areas that I think it’s important for the Women’s Bureau to pursue is to look at these issues and to make recommendations within the DOL and within government as to what can be done to address issues that are of importance to women. Issues that impact women disproportionately.  And I do – I am glad that the Women’s Bureau is within this budget because it will allow the Department of Labor to focus a particular entity on exactly these issues.” [“H APPROPS HEARING ON THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR F.Y. 2018 BUDGET,” CQ-Roll Call, 06/07/17]

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