USA often preaches against child labor and campaigns to reduce child labor in developing countries such as Mexico and India but a recent report on child labor in USA released by Human Rights Advocate Group reveals many shocking statistics. The report reveals debilitating effects that tobacco plantations, for example have had on the health of children as young as seven years working there. For earning higher profits Capitalism does not discriminate young children, old or any category of population.
The 138 page HRW report ( http://www.hrw.org/support-care ) says the children ( both from American and immigrant South American) employed in hazardous work in tobacco plantations and other industries are exposed to hazardous work conditions, suffering from nausea, head aches, dizziness, all symptoms matching to acute nicotine poising. This type poisoning often referred to as “Green Tobacco sickness”, is said to occur when nicotine is absorbed through their skin while handling tobacco plants , especially are wet. Based on interview with 141 child tobacco workers, aged between 7 to 17, the hrw report noted that many of them are also working long hours with out over time pay, in extreme heat with out shade, protective gear or sufficient breaks.
With several hundred thousand children said to be working in US agriculture each year, yet no data is readily available on the number of children working in various sectors of economy. The Report on the Youth Labor Force was revised in November 2000 ( http://www.bls.gov/opub/rylf/pdf/chapter3.pdf ). It notes in some states of US children aged between 14 and 15 are often employed in sectors including agriculture, plantations, retail food outlets and automobile repair during the school year ( generally after school hours) . The number reaches in some states to as high as 8- percent during summer time .
Hundreds of thousands of children work as hired laborers on American farms. Child farm workers as young as 12 often work 10 to 14-hour days under dangerous and grueling conditions. They risk pesticide poisoning, injuries, and suffer fatalities at more than four times the rate of children working in other jobs. As a result of their long hours, they drop out of school at alarming rates. Nationally, one-third never graduate from high school. At age 14, female children were more likely than males to work – 59 percent versus 55 percent respectively. However at age 15, the rates were essentially same ( 63 percent versus 64 percent, source: National Longitudinal survey of Youth, 1997). They often work 10 or more hours a day with sharp tools, heavy machinery, and dangerous pesticides, and die at 4 times the rate of other working youth. Farm worker children drop out of school in alarming numbers. The report on the Youth Labor Force was revised in November 2000 ( http://www.bls.gov/opub/rylf/pdf/chapter3.pdf ) notes similar statistics. Among the children interviewed by HRW many said that they had begun working on tobacco farms at age 11 or 12, most are from Hispanic immigrant communities, primarily to help to support their families.
Ironically under US labor law, children engaged n agriculture are permitted to work longer hours at younger ages and in more hazardous conditions than children in any other industry. It is a common sight that children as young as 11 or 12 work in kitchens in retail food outlets or in super markets in many US cities.. Children as young as 12 could be working hired for unlimited hours outside of school hours on a farm of any size with parental permission, and there is no minimum age or wage for children to work, HRW report notes.
( SOURCE: http://secure.hrw.org/c.nlIWIgN2JwE/b.5800699/k.393C/