Child Labor related news from around the world

DOL on its Proposed Child-Safety Rules for U.S. Agriculture

In September 2011, the Department of Labor proposed a rule to increase protections for workers age 15 and younger who are employed in agriculture. There are many misconceptions about how the rule would affect young agricultural workers. Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Nancy Leppink answers three pressing questions about it.

Why was this rule proposed? “Studies show that young workers are significantly more likely to die or suffer a serious injury while performing agricultural work than in any other industry. Agricultural workers ages 15-17 have a risk of fatality that is four times greater than that of the average 15- to 17-year-old. The proposed rule targets the tasks that are most likely to result in death or serious injury.”

How would the rule affect small family farms? “The proposed rule would not affect children working on family farms owned by their parents. A child of any age may perform any job at any time on a farm owned by his or her parent. A child of any age may perform any job on a farm operated, but not owned, by his or her parent, but only outside of school hours.”

Would the rule prohibit all agricultural work for minors? “The department recognizes the valuable role of agricultural work in promoting a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the nation’s land and animals. There will be many opportunities for children under the age of 16 to work on farms, just as they have done for decades, but the rule would restrict hired farmworkers under the age of 16 from performing specific tasks that have killed or injured a disproportionate number of young workers in the past.”Read the rest

New Law in Chile Targets Street Beggars

WRITTEN BY STEVE SHEA [The Santiago Times, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011]

Parents who exploit children could face up to three years in jail.

Sen. Carlos Bianchi recently proposed a new law that would seek to discourage adults from using children to beg for money on the street. The law would carry a prison term of between 541 days and three years.

Photo by fanz/Flickr.

“Begging can be considered the worst form of child labor,” Angélica Marín, the head of the Department of Protection of Rights told La Tercera. “Children forced into begging can have poor psychological, physical and moral development.”

She went onto say that this is a practice ingrained in Chilean culture and, “it requires the rehabilitation of adults who, perhaps for generations, have used their children to ask for money.”

This latest legislation will target those adults who use children to beg, both directly and indirectly, meaning directly if the child is begging and indirectly if the parent is begging with a child present. Both instances would be subject to the same jail time.

The Ministry of Social Development released a report in early October that counted 785 children in Santiago who could be considered to be living in extreme poverty.

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Tighter Child-Labor Rules on Farms Proposed

By SCOTT KILMAN [from The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 32, 2011]

The U.S. Labor Department proposed Wednesday to increase for the first time in four decades its list of jobs too hazardous for hired hands age 15 and younger to do on the farm, long one of the most dangerous places in America for children to work.

Under the proposed changes, laborers who are hired to do such things as drive most tractors or work in tobacco fields would have to be at least 16 years old. Workers who toil in tobacco fields can be exposed to unsafe levels of nicotine, a problem called green-tobacco sickness.

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Factory owner beats 10-yr-old worker to death

Indrani Basu, TNN | Apr 18, 2011, 04.24am IST [from the Times of India:]

NEW DELHI: Delhi was again confronted with the ugly truth of child labour in its midst when a 10-year-old migrant working in a beedi-making unit died after being allegedly beaten up by his employer. The boy was about to be buried on Sunday morning when an alert cemetery caretaker called the police.

Moin, who had come from Madhubani in Bihar, had blue bruises all over his body, the police said. It’s not clear whether he died of asphyxiation or of injuries received on Saturday night.

Kaleemullah, the owner of the beedi unit being run from a rented room in northwest Delhi’s Bharat Nagar, is absconding since Saturday night. Neighbours claimed that the child had been working there for almost two months.

”It appears that the suspect beat the child on Saturday night and when he died, fled the spot. The child had been bathed and wrapped in cloth as per burial rites and was taken to the cemetery by Kaleemullah’s brother and others. We are interrogating them to check if they knew about the cause of Moin’s death,” said a senior police officer.

The cops are now waiting for Moin’s family to arrive from Bihar. “After the family identifies him, we will get a postmortem done,” he said.… Read the rest