Children Exposed , Exploited on US Farms

Children Exposed , Exploited on US Farms

Posted in the Top Stories Forum

Evil US

United States

#1 Aug 28, 2013
by Neve Gordon
from the National Catholic Reporter-Feb. 16, 2001
One of the features characterizing globalization is the erosion of differences. In Italy, McDonald's is almost as popular as pizza, and in China, Coke is slowly replacing tea. Not unlike the culinary dimension, the world is becoming similar in a variety of other ways, including the employment and exploitation of workers.
Damaris (a pseudonym) started working in the broccoli and lettuce fields when she was 13 years old and continued until she was nearly 18. During peak season, she usually worked 14 hours a day, with two 15-minute breaks and a half-hour for lunch. She often worked 85 or 90 hours a week. She suffered daily nosebleeds for months, and several times her blood pressure plummeted and she nearly passed out. She was exposed to pesticide drift and became ill, yet she kept working.
Reading this testimony one tends to think of practices still common in developing countries, or of the conditions to which U.S. laborers were subjected in the late 19th century. Yet, Damaris, now 19, is living in Arizona, and her story is not much different from the stories of hundreds of thousands of other juveniles who labor each year in fields, orchards and packing sheds across the United States.
In 'Fingers to the Bone: United States Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers,' a recent Human Rights Watch report, Lee Tucker claims that agriculture is the most hazardous kind of work in which children are employed. "Juvenile farm workers are routinely exposed to dangerous pesticides, suffering rashes, headaches, nausea and vomiting," Tucker says, and adds that long-term consequences of pesticide poisoning "include cancer, brain damage and learning and memory problems."
One reads in the report that in addition to being endangered, the youth 'face persistent wage exploitation and fraud,' earning as little as $2 an hour, significantly less than the federal minimum wage of $5.15. Prospects for a better future are further jeopardized because only 55 percent graduate from high school.
Ironically, the violation of the basic rights of these children is supported by the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states that children working on farms may be employed from the age of 12 and provides no limitation to the number of hours a child can work. In all other occupations, by contrast, children under the age of 16 are limited to three hours of work per day when school is in session.
Congress exacerbated the existing abuse when it exempted, all farms with fewer than 11 employees from enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.' In this way, it deprived many children of their only hope for protection and contributed to the general lack of enforcement characterizing the employment of youth on farms.
Human rights watch points out that while, legally speaking, all children working on farms suffer equal discrimination, de-facto an 'estimated 85 percent of migrant seasonal farm workers nationwide are racial minorities.' In some regions, approximately 99 percent of farm workers are Latino.
Racial discrimination is, once again, tied to poverty. Human Rights Watch points out that the precarious situation of children is often prompted by the exploitation of their parents. Considering that the 1999 average yearly earnings of an adult working on a farm was a mere $7,500, it is hardly surprising that children are sent to work. How else can a family make ends meet?
Evil US

United States

#2 Aug 28, 2013
The maltreatment of children on American farms is part of GLOBALIZATION, in the sense that First World countries no longer rely solely on the Third World for cheap labor. Rather, large segments of society within the United States are subjected to working conditions not unlike those in the developing countries. Whereas many of those abused are migrant workers, it is becoming common to exploit citizens as well. As the advocates of the global market continue to extol the benefits of economic growth, the gap between the rich and the poor widens, and our own backyard continues to be an arena of abuse and subjugation.
Neve Gordon teaches in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, Israel
EVIL US

United States

#3 Aug 29, 2013
Amnesty International FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

describing the torture suffered by Brazilians at the hands of the military and the US-run Office of Public Safety (OPS) in the 1960s

Tortures range from simple but brutal blows from a truncheon to electric shocks. Often the torture is more refined: the end of a reed is placed in the anus of a naked man hanging suspended downwards on the pau de arara [parrot's perch] and a piece of cotton soaked in petrol is lit at the other end of the reed. Pregnant women have been forced to watch their husbands being tortured. Other wives have been hung naked beside their husbands and given electric shocks on the sexual parts of their body, while subjected to the worst kind of obscenities. Children have been tortured before their parents and vice versa. The length of sessions depends upon the resistance capacity of the victims and have sometimes continued for days at a time.
Knock off purse seller

Denver, CO

#4 Aug 29, 2013
Evil US wrote:
by Neve Gordon
from the National Catholic Reporter-Feb. 16, 2001
One of the features characterizing globalization is the erosion of differences. In Italy, McDonald's is almost as popular as pizza, and in China, Coke is slowly replacing tea. Not unlike the culinary dimension, the world is becoming similar in a variety of other ways, including the employment and exploitation of workers.
Damaris (a pseudonym) started working in the broccoli and lettuce fields when she was 13 years old and continued until she was nearly 18. During peak season, she usually worked 14 hours a day, with two 15-minute breaks and a half-hour for lunch. She often worked 85 or 90 hours a week. She suffered daily nosebleeds for months, and several times her blood pressure plummeted and she nearly passed out. She was exposed to pesticide drift and became ill, yet she kept working.
Reading this testimony one tends to think of practices still common in developing countries, or of the conditions to which U.S. laborers were subjected in the late 19th century. Yet, Damaris, now 19, is living in Arizona, and her story is not much different from the stories of hundreds of thousands of other juveniles who labor each year in fields, orchards and packing sheds across the United States.
In 'Fingers to the Bone: United States Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers,' a recent Human Rights Watch report, Lee Tucker claims that agriculture is the most hazardous kind of work in which children are employed. "Juvenile farm workers are routinely exposed to dangerous pesticides, suffering rashes, headaches, nausea and vomiting," Tucker says, and adds that long-term consequences of pesticide poisoning "include cancer, brain damage and learning and memory problems."
One reads in the report that in addition to being endangered, the youth 'face persistent wage exploitation and fraud,' earning as little as $2 an hour, significantly less than the federal minimum wage of $5.15. Prospects for a better future are further jeopardized because only 55 percent graduate from high school.
Ironically, the violation of the basic rights of these children is supported by the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states that children working on farms may be employed from the age of 12 and provides no limitation to the number of hours a child can work. In all other occupations, by contrast, children under the age of 16 are limited to three hours of work per day when school is in session.
Congress exacerbated the existing abuse when it exempted, all farms with fewer than 11 employees from enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.' In this way, it deprived many children of their only hope for protection and contributed to the general lack of enforcement characterizing the employment of youth on farms.
Human rights watch points out that while, legally speaking, all children working on farms suffer equal discrimination, de-facto an 'estimated 85 percent of migrant seasonal farm workers nationwide are racial minorities.' In some regions, approximately 99 percent of farm workers are Latino.
Racial discrimination is, once again, tied to poverty. Human Rights Watch points out that the precarious situation of children is often prompted by the exploitation of their parents. Considering that the 1999 average yearly earnings of an adult working on a farm was a mere $7,500, it is hardly surprising that children are sent to work. How else can a family make ends meet?
Well that was published in 2001. What about recently? Has anything changed since then? It would be helpful to know this.
Evil US

United States

#5 Aug 29, 2013
US blueberry farms accused of using children as pickers
Supermarkets blacklist firm after young children exploited for small hands
By Stephen Foley in New York

Monday 02 November 2009
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/ameri...
Evil US

United States

#6 Aug 29, 2013
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is embroiled in a child labour scandal in the United States, after children as young as five were found working on a farm that supplies blueberries to the company.

The revelations came as federal authorities said spot checks on farms in the state of Michigan found that more than half were violating child labour or migrant housing rules.

Human rights groups have stepped up their calls for a clampdown on agricultural businesses, where they say children are routinely exploited. Poor families put their children to work to make ends meet, while agriculture bosses, struggling to meet supermarkets' relentless demands for lower-priced goods, are turning a blind eye, campaigners say.

Walmart and two other supermarket chains said they were suspending dealings with Adkin Blue Ribbon Packing Co, the Michigan-based supplier at the heart of the latest scandal. Walmart will not buy anything from Adkin "pending the outcome of an investigation by our ethical sourcing team", a company spokesman said.

Adkin general manager Tony Marr said the company did not condone the use of children at its growing facilities. "Walmart, Kroger and Meijer are very large customers of ours," he said. "We're cooperating with them in providing information about our internal investigation, trying to figure out what the kids were doing there."

The children were being put to work because their small hands are more efficient at picking the tiny fruit. They carted buckets of blueberries and provided other help to their parents, also workers on the farm, according to footage obtained by ABC News.

A five-year-old girl named Suli was shown lugging two full buckets of blueberries picked by her parents and her brothers, aged seven and eight. An 11-year-old boy on the farm said he had been picking blueberries there for three years.

Government investigators found four children working in Adkin's fields during an unannounced visit in July. At least two of the children were under 12, including a six-year-old.

Federal law does not allow children younger than 12 to work on farms. Children who are 12 or 13 can have non-hazardous farm jobs outside of school hours if they work on the same farm as their parents or with written parental consent. In all other industries, the minimum age for workers is 14.

Human Rights Watch, which is campaigning to have the minimum age equalised, says that the laws covering child labour on farms reflect a "bygone era". The group's executive director, Lois Whitman, wrote to Congress last month saying: "Today, the vast majority of child farmworkers are not working on their parents' land but are hired labourers employed by large commercial enterprises, and exposed to the increased hazards of heavy mechanization and pesticide use."

Thomas Thornburg, attorney of Farmworker Legal Services, said labour law violations are rampant among farms that use migrant workers. "This isn't one abusive employer," he said after the ABC News investigation at Adkin.

Michigan is America's largest blueberry producer. Federal checks of 35 farms in the state led to eight being fined for violating child labour laws. Adkin was fined for both housing and child labour violations, and it paid more than $5,500 (£3,345) in penalties.
Evil US

United States

#7 Aug 29, 2013
Did a Child Pick Your Strawberries?- The Daily Beast
www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/05/12/did... ...

Click Below to Hear American Child Farm Workers ... those who are undocumented are especially vulnerable to exploitation from employers ... exposed to dangerous ...
Evil US

United States

#8 Aug 29, 2013
Child Labor | Fight Slavery Now!
fightslaverynow.wordpress.com/.../labortraffi...

The International Labor Organization estimates worldwide that there are 246 million exploited children ... United States, more than 400,000 children ... Child farm ..
Evil US

United States

#9 Aug 29, 2013
Victoria’s Secret Revealed in Child Picking Burkina Faso Cotton ...
www.bloomberg.com/news/...15/...child-picking...

Dec 15, 2011 · Forced labor and child labor aren’t new to African farms.... aren’t supposed to make them accomplices to exploitation, especially of children.... US ..

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