Video: It's Time to End Child Labor in US Agriculture

| 5/6/2010 1:56:08 PM

Human Rights Watch has launched a campaign to end child labor in US agriculture. "Children can legally work on any farm at age 12, with their parents’ permission, and it's not uncommon to see children as young as 7 and 8 in the fields," according to a new Human Rights Watch report, Fields of Peril. "During peak harvest season, the children work up to 14-hour days, and earn far less than minimum wage. There is no minimum age for children working on a small farm with parental permission."

The organization has produced a short video on the issue. Pass it around!

Kathy Jerman_2
5/12/2010 1:53:52 PM

As long as these children go to school when they are supposed to I think there is nothing wrong with them working. Many families can't make it without everyone working. This is the way it used to be. I believe that all children should be able to get an education as well as learn how to work how to build a work ethic. unfortunatly we have taken that away from our children they for the most part do not have the oppruntunity to learn how to work. Expecting them to go to school for 12 or more years and then all of a sudden the have to join the work force. They don't know how. I think all kids should hold some kind of a job, during the summer and or after school. Kathy

Luccia Rogers
5/11/2010 12:18:08 PM

When my uncle and aunt married back in the 1930s, she made him an offer; he could get a "brood mare," or a farmhand. The standard practice of the times was to have children so they would become an integral part of the labor force of the family farm. My uncle elected the farmhand and they never had children. This video neglects the realities of the family farm, which has faded from its prominence in North America. Eliminating child labor on the enormous, corporate, agribusinesses that are still called farms makes sense, as they are more accurately food factories and not a family-owned, virtually self-contained enterprise. However, when the only labor available to a family is the family, then all the family works the farm. This is how is has been for centuries and as long as there are families willing to eke out an existence running family farms, this is how it will be. Considering recent news that the conversion of thousands of family farms to corporate agricultural food factories has diminished Americans' nutritional choices and has turned this country from an exporter to an importer of food, perhaps we need to encourage a renaissance of the family farm?

Deborah Greymoon
5/10/2010 9:34:16 AM

It is ridiculous that in today's world we can criticize farmworkers for not putting more emphasis on educating their children, arrest parents who come to the U.S. to work these thankless jobs and then go happily to the grocery store to buy the 50 cents per pound cucumbers that they just picked while inhaling pesticide fumes side by side with their children. Tomorrow we can write our congressional representatives an tell them that we still need the agricultural exemption to the Child Labor Law because we don't want to have to pay adults fair wages to pick produce.

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