An "extensive and thorough review" of the summer J1 visa exchange program has been ordered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Authorities believe that the visa program has been used as a source of cheap labor and is also used by criminals to import women to work in the sex industry, reports the Associated Press.
A State Department spokesman said that Clinton had "called for an extensive and thorough review of the program".
Last week, a federal indictment accused the mafia of using the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program as a guise to bring Eastern European women to work in New York strip clubs.
Irish frozen out of a new green card bill in Congress
Irish J1 students ready for U.S. adventure
Top ten tips for Irish J1 students coming to the U.S. for the summer
The visa program was first established in 1963 to allow college students from other countries to spend the summer, living, working, and traveling within the U.S.
Annually, the program attracts more than 100,000 young people. Thousands of Irish students flock to popular locations such as San Diego, Boston, and New York for the J1 summer experience.
Last year, an investigation by the Associated Press uncovered widespread abuse by J1 student employers. One female student said she was beaten, raped and forced to work as a nude dancer in Detriot after she was promised a job as a waitress in Virginia.
The State Department is considering limiting the types of jobs that students can have in order to strengthen “the cultural aspects of the program to ensure that the objective of the program — positive exposure to the United States — is accomplished”.
Three victims named as Hurricane Ophelia passes over Ireland