The United States is failing to protect hundreds of thousands of children engaged in often grueling and dangerous farmwork. The current child labor law governing farmworkers was drafted in the 1930's when many more children worked on family farms, but that era is long gone.
Child farmworkers today risk their safety, health, and education on commercial farms across the United States. They are as young as 12 years old, and often work for hire for 10 or more hours a day, five to seven days a week.
Some start working part-time at age 6 or 7.
Children, like many adult farmworkers, typically earn far less than minimum wage, and their pay is often further cut because employers underreport hours and force them to spend their own money on tools, gloves, and drinking water that their employers should provide by law.
Agriculture is the most dangerous work open to children in the United States. Child farmworkers suffer fatalities at more than four times the rate of children working in other jobs. Some work without even the most basic protective gear, including shoes or gloves.
As a result of their long working hours, children who do agricultural work drop out of school at four times the national rate.
Join Human Rights Watch and call on the US Congress to amend the law governing child labor - the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - to protect child farmworkers.
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