Seventy per cent of working children are in agriculture–over 132 million girls and boys aged 5-14 years old. These children are working on farms and plantations, often from sun up to sun down, planting and harvesting crops, spraying pesticides, and tending livestock on rural farms and plantations. Explore the map above to find out more about this subject.

NCL’s 2015 Five Most Dangerous Jobs For Teens:

Tips for Teen Workers, Parents, and Employers to Help Working Teens Stay Safe in the Work Place

 The National Consumers League’s Guide, Updated Annually


Report author: Reid Maki,

Director of Child Labor Advocacy

National Consumers League

 

Introduction: Although fatality rates are dropping, we continue to lose too many children at work

No parent thinks their child will be hurt at work, but according to the Children’s Safety network, about every 9 minutes a U.S. teen is hurt on the job.

In July 2014 in Duvall, Washington, 19-year-old Bradley Hogue was killed by a rotating auger—a metal device like a giant corkscrew while working inside the bark-blower truck. In January this year, the state of Washington assessed employer Pacific Topsoils with penalties totaling $199,000, noting that employers were regularly exposed to three mechanical hazards that could seriously injure or kill them.

In October 2014, an Idaho teen, 18-year-old Jeremy McSpadden, Jr., of Spokane Valley, Washington portraying a zombie at a Halloween haunted hayride died tragically. The boy, wearing a mask, emerged from a corn maze, stumbled on uneven ground, lost his footing and fell under the rear wheel of the bus. He was killed instantly.

In May of 2015, Kyle Sing, 15, was putting in a fence on his family’s farm in Eldridge, Missouri when he became caught in the auger he was using to dig post holes. A family friend described the accident on Facebook: “The auger jumped out of the of the hole and grabbed a metal cattle panel, which grabbed Kyle and wrapped him, the panel and the T post all together.”… Read the rest

How Can We End Child Labor In The Fields? Pay Farmers Better

By Beth Hoffman, contributor to Forbes

A few weeks ago a request for internal documents from the chocolate giant Hershey’s Co moved forward, with a judge ruling that the company will have to share confidential information with its shareholders.  The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System brought legal action against the company in 2012, asserting that the company knowingly bought cocoa from areas plagued with child labor issues.

Even though Hershey’s is the company targeted in the lawsuit, human rights abuses like child labor are still rampant throughout the food supply chain.  Although companies like Mars or Nestlé now publicly discuss child labor in their supply chains, these issues are unlikely to go away when these same companies rely upon cheap land and labor to operate.

Last week the UC Davis School of Law featured a full day conference “Confronting Child Labor in Global Agricultural Supply Chains.”  The conference featured a parade of impressive experts from a wide range of stakeholders, including Mars Co, Bonsucro, the International Labor Organization and the U.S. Department of Labor.  Each presented on the problem of child labor in the fields, and of need to create financial alternatives for rural youth, to educate communities about illegal practices, and to increase productivity in the fields.

But what was not discussed by speakers as a solution to child labor was to substantially raise the price farmers and workers are paid for their work.

Reflecting on the conference, speaker Professor Alfred Babo, an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Bouaké, commented.  … Read the rest

What Will 2014 Hold for Those Trying to Reduce Child Labor and Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Harvest?

For several years, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which the National Consumers League co-chairs with the American Federation of Teachers, has worked closely with the Cotton Campaign to reduce child labor and forced child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest.

Uzbekistan, run by totalitarian dictator Islam Karimov is the only country in the world where the central government has recently played a major role in causing large-scale forced child labor.  For many years, Uzbekistan’s leaders emptied schools and literally forced school children—sometimes very small children—to harvest cotton, a grueling, painful, sometimes dangerous job. The country is one of the largest cotton producers in the world, and Uzbek cotton sometimes finds its way into the U.S. apparel industry, despite a pledge by more than 130 apparel companies that they will not knowingly use Uzbek cotton in their garments.

For years, Uzbek children worked beside similarly conscripted college students and older adults for four to eight weeks at a time, missing much-needed school in the process. The workers were paid so little that their forced labors should be considered a form of temporary slavery. Those who refused were expelled from school, fired from their jobs, denied public benefits, or worse. Some harvesters have reported being beaten because they did not meet their cotton quota.  The forced labor of children and adults did not enrich struggling local farmers, but benefited the country’s ruling elite.

Despite aggressive advocacy by the Cotton Campaign, Karimov had intractably refused to ease the use of child labor and forced labor. Recently, however, the situation in Uzbekistan has shown signs of changing.

Advocacy by the Cotton Campaign led to a very surprising success in last summer, when the US State Department issued its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) country-by-country report and it included a downgrade of Uzbekistan to the lowest tier ranking, signaling that the Uzbek government was simply not doing enough to reduce forced labor and the worst forms of child labor in the country.

Although the advocacy community had worked hard and long to bring about this downgrade—and it was completely deserved—it was still something of a pleasant surprise. The US government has many strategic concerns in Uzbekistan related to supply routes for the war in Afghanistan, and it was assumed that the State Department would not be willing to issue the deserved downgrade for fear of alienating Uzbek leaders. Fortunately, the State Department honored the intent of the TIP report and in so doing, applied additional pressure to the Uzbek government.

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: Child Labor Coalition Applauds State Department Downgrade of Uzbekistan in the Trafficking-in-Persons Report

For immediate release: June 25, 2013
Contact: Reid Maki, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org

On June 19 the US placed Uzbekistan in the lowest rank in the Global Trafficking in Persons Report for failing to end forced labor, forced child labor, and curb human trafficking in 2012
(Washington) –The 30-member Child Labor Coalition (CLC) applauds the Department of State’s decision June 19th to downgrade Uzbekistan to Tier 3 in the Global Trafficking in Persons Report (J/TIP) ranking system. The report is an annual assessment of human trafficking around the world and the efforts of individual governments to combat it. Uzbekistan has been the focus of advocacy by the Child Labor Coalition and the Cotton Campaign because of widespread forced labor of adults and children to harvest the nation’s cotton crop.

“State-demanded forced labor of children and adults to harvest cotton each fall in Uzbekistan has long-been a grave concern,” noted CLC co-chair Sally Greenberg, the executive director of the National Consumers League. “By moving Uzbekistan to Tier III, the US government is telling the world that Uzbek leaders need to confront and remedy their use of forced adult and child labor immediately, and they must open their cotton harvest to International Labour Organization (ILO) monitoring to ensure that workers are laboring willingly.”

“We urge the Uzbek government to follow the recommendation of the tripartite ILO, and reiterated by the United States in this report, to invite a high-level ILO mission to monitor the fall harvest by August 1,” said Dr. Lorretta Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers.… Read the rest