Hard Labor at a Tender Age and Child Labor Going Largely Unchecked

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The Charlotte Observer

A recent raid at a House of Raeford Farms chicken plant in Greenville, S.C., uncovered more than illegal immigrant workers. Authorities found youth employees as young as 15 – some working 10-hour night shifts that included hazardous tasks, such as butchering chickens with sharp knives. Federal and state labor laws bar anyone under 18 from working on a poultry processing line. However, the U.S. Department of Labor has enforced such laws infrequently in the past, and many employers often ignore the regulations.

According to federal statistics, more than 400 illegal juvenile workers are injured on the job each day, and one dies every 10 days. Among the 331 workers arrested at the Greenville plant, six were underage. Most youth said they took the jobs to help support their low-income immigrant families. They may now face deportation. The two stories are part of the paper’s multi-part series “The Cruelest Cut.” Nov. 8 and 10, http://www.charlotteobserver.com.