AFT: In Our Own Backyard

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child in farm fieldIntroduction

Agricultural workers are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Consequently, migrant farmworkers are largely unprotected by the U.S. legal system today, and 500,000 of these workers are under the age of 18. This reality allows for exploitative employment practices and violates international laws regarding the treatment of children. Moreover, it prevents the majority of children from migrant families from completing even a high school education.

Why do child farmworkers have fewer protections than other children who work? What effect does farm work have on children’s health, safety and performance in school? What are the daily experiences of these children? What can and should be done to improve the situation?

This site is designed to answer these questions and more, with an emphasis on the public policy related to child labor in agriculture. From this platform, you can learn more about this current issue, review its historical development, assess alternatives for addressing the problem and recommend solutions. The resources on this site have been compiled from numerous sources to guide your exploration. They include: video clips, photographs, legal documents, migrant youth essays, timelines, reports, media articles, case studies and statistics. They have been divided into the following parts:

1 – The Hidden Problem (an overview of the situation)
2 – How Can This Happen? (background on the problem)
3 – What Can Be Done? (alternatives for addressing the problem)

Click here to begin your exploration and make your own decisions about the appropriate roles for government, citizens and businesses in protecting America’s child farmworkers. 

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