State Dept. Bans Nonprofit Accused of Exploiting Foreign Exchange Students

Friday, February 03, 2012

Council for Educational Travel, USA (Cetusa), a sponsor of international exchange students to the U.S., has been banned by the State Department after students in Pennsylvania last year protested their working conditions.

The State Department’s action was viewed as a message to Cetusa and other exchange student sponsors to stop exploiting young people as sources of cheap labor and making it harder for young Americans to find decent-paying jobs.
Around the world, students were paying Cetusa recruiters $3,000-$6,000 each to obtain a J-1 visa to come to the United States as part of a cultural program that also called on them to work for three months.
Cetusa, one of the biggest sponsors in the U.S., was responsible for placing about 400 foreign students in 2011 in a Hershey’s chocolate packing plant in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Before the summer was up, hundreds of exchange students walked off their jobs and demonstrated over what they said was low pay and dangerous job conditions. Regular employees of Hershey’s earn $18 an hour. The foreign students were taking home between $7.85 and $8.35 per hour. Hershey’s CEO at the time, David West, took home $7.5 million in 2010 before moving on to Del Monte.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Cheap Labor as Cultural Exchange (by Jerry Kammer, Center for Immigration Studies)


kelli hanson 10 years ago
this company has been exploiting foreign exchange students for years. they seemed to think they were above the law by sending students home if they complained about conditions and their bad practices. see the following article concerning an exchange student from norway. cetusa used to have a partnership with our rural high school in minnesota. there were consistently 15 foreign exchange students in a graduating class of 90. they came without homes being lined up, and that's how i became involved. a girl from slovakia came and asked me if she could live with me...i was her choir director and she had been living in her coordinators home with 3 other students. they were at the county fair "marketing themselves and looking for homes" puppies. story of espen hansen from norway newspaper please know that there are many horror stories. they came to my house and tried to remove the 2 students we had because i had got to the minnesota secretary of state's office and carver county police to stop the harassment of foreign exchange students.

Leave a comment