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United States Failure To Protect Child Farmworkers

Fingers To The Bone: United States Failure To Protect Child Farmworkers

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FINGERS
TO THE BONE:


UNITED
STATES FAILURE TO PROTECT CHILD FARMWORKERS


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online

Copyright © June 2000 by Human Rights
Watch


All Rights Reserved

ISBN 1-56432-249-1

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number
00-104893



TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I. SUMMARY

II. RECOMMENDATIONS

To The United States
Congress

To the Wage and
Hour Division, United States Department of Labor

To The Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), United States Department of Labor,
and to “State-Plan” States

To The Environmental
Protection Agency

To All States

III. ADOLESCENT
FARMWORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES: ENDANGERMENT AND EXPLOITATION

Introduction

Farmworker Poverty

Vulnerability of
Farmworkers

Farm Labor Contractors

Health and Safety
Risks

Hazardous Conditions;
Work-Related Illnesses
Hazardous Equipment;
Work-Related Injuries

Depression and
Substance Abuse

Underage Workers

Wage and Hour
Concerns
The Effect of Farmwork
on Education

Special Risks
to Girls

Sexual Harassment

IV. U.S. LAWS AND
THEIR ENFORCEMENT: AN
ONGOING FAILURE TO PROTECT CHILDREN WORKING
IN AGRICULTURE

The Fair Labor
Standards Act and Enforcement by the Department of Labor

The Worker Protection
Standard and other Environmental Protection Agency Regulations and their
Enforcement
Field Sanitation Standards:
Federal OSHA and OSHA-Approved State Plans and their Enforcement
V. FAILURE TO COMPLY
WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW

Violation of International
Non-Discrimination Laws

ILO Convention
Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Elimination of the Worst Forms
of Child Labour (Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention)

The Convention
on the Rights of the Child

APPENDIX A: Selected
Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201
– 219

APPENDIX B: International
Labor Organization Convention 182 and Recommendations

APPENDIX C: Excerpts
from the Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


This report was researched and written
by Lee Tucker, consultant to the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights
Watch. It was edited by Lois Whitman, Executive Director of the Children’s
Rights Division, and Michael McClintock, Deputy Program Director of Human
Rights Watch. Other Human Rights Watch staff who assisted substantially
in the review or preparation of this report were: Dinah PoKempner, Deputy
General Counsel of Human Rights Watch; Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Division
Advocacy Director; Shalu Rozario, Children’s Rights Division Associate;
and Lance Compa, Program Researcher.

We are grateful to the many people and
organizations who offered their assistance and expertise in connection
with this report, not all of whom can be named. In particular, we thank:
Diane Mull of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs; Darlene
Adkins of the National Consumers League Child Labor Coalition; Emma Torres,
Coordinator of Bridges in Friendship: A Project of the Border Health Foundation;
Gary Restaino, former staff attorney of Community Legal Services in Phoenix;
Rupert Sandoval, Coordinator of the Arizona Interagency Farmworkers Coalition;
David Dick and Maria Elena Badilla of Pinal-Gila Legal Aid Society; Janice
Porter and Sister Emily Gezich of Aguila, Arizona; Blanca Rodriguez, United
Farm Workers attorney in Sunnyside, Washington; Gina Lombardi of the National
Center for Farmworker Health; Michelle Gonzalez Arroyo of the Labor Occupational
Health Program at the University of California in Berkeley; and Dr. Marion
Moses of the Pesticide Information Center. Dr. John Arnold of Project PPEP
in Tucson offered great assistance by putting us in touch with several
other Project PPEP staff members-teachers Karen Lowe, Jimmy Pruitt, and
Doug Davidson, and regional directors Augie Zaragoza and Raoul Salazar-all
of whom were extremely helpful and to whom we give our heartfelt thanks.

Many government officials gave graciously
of their time, sharing information and responding to our queries. Our thanks
to: Corlis Sellers, Libby Hendrix, and Esther LaPlante of the U.S. Department
of Labor; Marcos Cordoba of the Arizona Department of Economic Security;
Art Morelos of the Industrial Commission of Arizona; Frank Zamudio of the
Arizona Department of Agriculture; Kevin Keaney of the Environmental Protection
Agency; and Cindy O’Hara of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s
excellent report, “Trouble on the Farm: Growing up with Pesticides in Agricultural
Communities,” was invaluable to our report and is cited numerous times.
We gratefully acknowledge the NRDC and author Dr. Gina Solomon for this
outstanding contribution, as well as their ongoing work aimed at protecting
children from pesticides. We also acknowledge the National Research Council
and the Institute of Medicine for their comprehensive 1998 book, Protecting
Youth at Work
, cited frequently in our report

Above all, Human Rights Watch would like
to thank all of the children and youth who shared their experiences with
us, making this report possible. In order to protect their privacy, all
of their names have been changed except where otherwise noted.