Hundreds of thousands of children are employed as farmworkers in the United States, often working 10 or more hours a day. They are often exposed to dangerous pesticides, experience high rates of injury, and suffer fatalities at more than four times the rate of other working youth. Their long hours contribute to alarming drop-out rates. Government statistics show that one-third never finish high school.
Agriculture is the most dangerous occupation in the United States open to children. However, current US child labor laws allow child farmworkers to work longer hours, at younger ages, and under more hazardous conditions than other working youths.
The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act) would update US law to ensure that all working children are protected equally. Please contact your Congressional Representative to ask them to support this important bill.
Photo: A 12-year-old girl picks cucumbers on a Michigan farm. © 2009 Romano