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Children In The Fields: The Stories You Should Know

January 1, 2019

Child labor in the U.S. is all but invisible, and very few people are rushing to correct that misconception. This is because it's in many people's interests to keep child labor hidden. It's in the employer's interest, because it keeps farmworker wages depressed; it's in the consumer's interest, because it keeps grocery costs down; and it's in the parents' interest, because 'many hands make light work.' (Since it is legal, parents take their children to the fields to make sure the most money is earned.) When children labor in the shadows, they carry these burdens of low wages, low costs, and higher pay on their own shoulders.That's why Children in the Fields Campaign (CIFC) is bringing farmworker children out of the shadows and into the light by publishing this report. Throughout this publication, farmworker children tell us, in their own words, when they started working, what they are harvesting, and how they are feeling.

Children In the Fields: The Facts You Should Know

January 29, 2018

Unfortunately, kids even younger than 12 often accompany their parents to work on American farms and fields. This means that farmworker children are being put at risk from a very young age – even before birth – from the pesticides, dangerous equipment, and other hazards populating those environments. Teenagers are permitted to operate various equipment from a young age, which corresponds to an increase in the rate of tragic accidents involving youth. Though children are at the height of vulnerability when they are still in the womb, there are inadequate protections for farmworkers who are expecting a child. Children also interact with their environment in fundamentally different ways than adults, yet this is not in regulators' minds when setting standards for things such as pesticide use. All of this results in a surfeit of negative outcomes in farmworker children: cancer, developmental disorders, serious injury, etc., which diminish their future prospects and quality of life. The severity and continued prevalence of these issues in the farmworker community demands our attention and action. The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) is dedicated to fighting child labor injustice through its Children in the Fields Campaign (CIFC). As part of that Campaign, we have developed this publication to educate readers about the top 10 issues facing farmworker children in America today, and what we can do about it.

Sowing the Seeds of Change: A Snapshot of Child Labor in America

January 1, 2012

The Children in the Fields Campaign is working to help farmworker children share their stories and become leaders in their own communities through farmworker youth photo exhibits, student-led conferences, and educational materials, such as this one. In addition, AFOP hosts an annual Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children Essay & Art Contest. The photographs, videos, and testimonials collected from farmworker children illuminate the struggles and hopes of the nation's most marginalized population and demonstrate the potential that exists for young people who are given the opportunity to work hard in the classrooms instead of working hard in the fields.

America’s Farmworker Children: Harvest of Broken Dreams

October 19, 2011

In July 2009, the Children in the Fields Campaign embarked on a new phase of its work, initiating a grassroots campaign of community organization and educational outreach thanks to a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Regional coordinators in the farmworker communities of California, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio have formed community coalitions and farmworker youth councils in order to build support for educational programs for farmworker children, document the living and working conditions that they endure, and raise awareness about the persistent issue of child labor in our agricultural system.The images and words in this report illuminate the struggles and hopes of our nation's most marginalized population and demonstrates the potential that exists for young people who are given the opportunity to work hard in the classrooms and not in the fields.

Children at Work: A Glimpse Into the Lives of Child Farmworkers in the United States

December 1, 2008

Approximately 400,000 children across the United States are working in fields and orchards tending and harvesting fruits and vegetables that end up on our tables. There is an exemption in the federal child labor law (found in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938) for agricultural labor, which allows children as young as 12 to work unlimitedhours outside of school in fields and orchards, as long as they have parental consent. These childrenare burdened with an overload of school and work responsibilities, as well as a myriad of health complications due to pesticide exposure, musculoskeletal injuries, and a prevalence of accidents with farm machinery.This report documents the annual blueberry harvest in southeastern North Carolina. The text accompanying the photos includes quotes selected from essays that were collected through the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs' 2008 Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children's Essay Contest. The contest was open to children of farmworkers, between the ages of 10 and 18, throughout the United States. The quotes are printed just as they were received. These are their words.