Child labor widespread problem in U.S.: USA Today

(Xinhua) 10:23, March 28, 2023

NEW YORK, March 27 (Xinhua) -- There are children working under what amounts to indentured and slave labor conditions in every single U.S. state, which means that the country's child labor laws designed to prevent children from working at all are being broken, most egregiously by those who are exploiting the most vulnerable workers of all: underage migrant workers, reported USA Today on Sunday.

"These child workers are often isolated and without any kind of adult protection, breaking their backs on the vast fields and farms of big agriculture, which could be several days' walk from anywhere they could seek help, working long hours on physically dangerous factory assembly lines," the report cited a document released by The New York Times.

"We now know child labor supports, shockingly, so many of our favorite stores and brands: Target, Walmart, J. Crew, Whole Foods, Ben &Jerry's and my Mamaw's favorite, General Mills' Cheerios," it noted.

The victims often work all night, attempting to attend school during the day, many giving up on such an impossibly exhausting schedule. If they ask questions about their employment conditions, they may be retaliated against. Girls routinely experience sexual harassment and coercion by adult men, according to the report.

"Whose responsibility is it to monitor such egregious workplace conditions, and to report such galling violations? It is the duty of the Wage and Hour Division inspectors at the U.S. Department of Labor. But they do not monitor and report -- because they cannot. They simply do not have enough staff to perform this bedrock task," it said.

In 1978, the U.S. government employed one labor inspector for every 69,000 workers, already a vastly inadequate number. By 2018, each investigator was responsible for covering 175,000 workers, more than twice as many as before, it added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


Related Stories