An investigation has found that students are forced to work in strip clubs instead of restaurants. Others take home US$1 an hour or even less.
Reports say some live in apartments so crowded that they sleep in shifts because there are not enough beds, while others have to eat on floors.
They are among more than 100 thousand college students who come to the United States each year on popularÂ J- oneÂ visas, which supply resorts with cheap seasonal labour as part of a programme aimed at fostering cultural understanding.
Government auditors have warned about problems in the programme for 20 years, but the state department, which is in charge of it, only now says it is working on new rules.