Trinity Human Rights Group

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Child Labor by Lavinia Gonzales

For those of us fortunate enough to be raised in this country with all its imperfections, we are given at birth the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and anything to interfere with that shall be deemed unconstitutional.

But what if as children we had to leave school and work 12-16 hours per day conducting strenuous and hazardous tasks and were sold for commercial sexual exploitation?

According to the United Stated Department of Labor, there are 168 million children working world wide and 85 million of those working children are in hazardous work environments. This work that children endure are forms of slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, illicit activities, and hazardous work that most likely interfere with their education, physical and mental development.

— under international law this constitutes child labor trafficking.

Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • 12.5 million children ages 5-17 are engaged in child labor.

Middle East and North Africa:

  • 9.2 million children are engaged in child labor, 8 percent of all children in the region.

Asia and the Pacific:

  • 77.8 million children ages 5-17 are engaged in child labor.

Sub- Saharan Africa:

  • 59 million children ages 5-17 engaged in child labor

These statistics demonstrate the substantial need for governmental efforts in protecting children. Their protection is found under international law and US domestic laws on child labor.

International Labor Statistics

International Labour Organization, http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/policy-areas/statistics/lang--en/index.htm

  • Nearly 21 million people - Three out of every 1,000 people worldwide - are victims of forced labour across the world, trapped in jobs which they were coerced or deceived into and which they cannot leave.
  • The Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced labourers in the world – 11.7 million (56 per cent) of the global total, followed by Africa at 3.7 million (18 per cent) and Latin America with 1.8 million victims (9 per cent).
  • The number of victims per thousand inhabitants is highest in the central and south-eastern Europe and Africa regions at 4.2 and 4.0 per 1,000 inhabitants respectively. It is the lowest in the Developed Economies and European Union at 1.5 per 1,000 inhabitants.
  • The relatively high prevalence in central and south-eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States can be explained by the fact that the population is much lower than for example in Asia and at the same time reports of trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation and of state-imposed forced labour in the region are numerous.
  • The Developed Economies and European Union have 1.5 million (7 per cent) forced labourers.
  • Central and south-eastern European countries, and the Commonwealth of Independent States account for 1.6 million (7 per cent).
  • There are an estimated 600,000 (3 per cent) victims in the Middle East.

International Laws on Child Labor

Forthcoming

US Department of Labor Laws on Child Labor

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (revised 2011) was implemented to set the wages, hours worked, and safety requirements for minors defined under Federal law as those under the age of 18. Fourteen years old is a minimum age for employment and XX is the maximum number of hours those under the age of 16 are allowed to work per day. This number varies, however, depending on the age and type of work.

Guidelines on Jobs for Minors:

The type of employment minors are declared not to participate in are those considered hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

I. A minor 16 or 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous job.

II. A minor 14 and 15 years old may not work in the manufacturing or mining industries, or in any hazardous job.

I. A minor 16 or 17 years old may not perform the following jobs deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Labor:

  • Manufacturing, processing, and mining occupations;
  • Communications or public utilities jobs;
  • Construction or repair jobs;
  • Operating or assisting in operating power-driven machinery or hoisting apparatus other than typical office machines.
  • Work as a ride attendant or ride operator at an amusement park or a “dispatcher” at the top of elevated water slides;
  • Driving motor vehicles or helping a driver;
  • Youth peddling, sign waving, or door-to-door sales;
  • Poultry catching or cooping;
  • Lifeguarding at a natural environment such as a lake, river, ocean beach, quarry, pond (youth must be at least 15 years of age and properly certified to be a lifeguard at a traditional swimming pool or water amusement park);
  • Public messenger jobs;
  • Transporting persons or property;
  • Workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed;
  • Warehousing and storage.
  • Boiler or engine room work, whether in or about;
  • Cooking, except with gas or electric grills that do not involve cooking over an open flame and with deep fat fryers that are equipped with and utilize devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets in and out of the hot grease or oil;
  • Baking;
  • Operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers or cutters and bakery mixers;
  • Freezers or meat coolers work, except minors may occasionally enter a freezer for a short period of time to retrieve items;
  • Loading or unloading goods on or off trucks, railcars or conveyors except in very limited circumstances.
  • Meat processing and work in areas where meat is processed;
  • Maintenance or repair of a building or its equipment;
  • Outside window washing that involves working from window sills;
  • All work involving the use of ladders, scaffolds, or similar equipment;
  • Warehouse work, except office and clerical work.

II. A minor 14 and 15 years old may not work in the manufacturing or mining industries, or in any hazardous job as listed above. The jobs they are legally allowed to perform are limited to:

  • Office and clerical work;
  • Work of an intellectual or artistically creative nature;
  • Bagging and carrying out customer's orders;
  • Cashiering, selling, modeling, art work, advertising, window trimming, or comparative shopping;
  • Pricing and tagging goods, assembling orders, packing, or shelving;
  • Clean-up work and grounds maintenance—the young worker may use vacuums and floor waxers, but he or she may not use power-driven mowers, cutters, and trimmers;
  • Work as a lifeguard at a traditional swimming pool or water amusement park if at least 15 years of age and properly certified;
  • Kitchen and other work in preparing and serving food and drinks, but only limited cooking duties and no baking (see below);
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables;
  • Cooking with gas or electric grills that do not involve cooking over an open flame and with deep fat fryers that are equipped with and utilize devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets in and out of the hot grease or oil;
  • Clean cooking equipment, including the filtering, transporting and dispensing of oil and grease, but only when the surfaces of the equipment and liquids do not exceed 100° F;
  • Pumping gas, cleaning and hand washing and polishing of cars and trucks (but the young worker may not repair cars, use garage lifting rack, or work in pits);
  • Wrapping, weighing, pricing, stocking any goods as long as he or she doesn't work where meat is being prepared and doesn't work in freezers or meat coolers;
  • Delivery work by foot, bicycle, or public transportation;
  • Riding in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle except when a significant reason for the minor being a passenger in the vehicle is for the purpose of performing work in connection with the transporting—or assisting in the transporting of—other persons or property;
  • Loading and unloading onto and from motor vehicles, the hand tools and personal equipment the youth will use on the job site.

Hazardous Occupations:

  • Eighteen is the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural occupations declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. The rules prohibiting working in hazardous occupations (HO) apply either on an industry basis, or on an occupational basis no matter what industry the job is in. Parents employing their own children are subject to these same rules. General exemptions apply to all of these occupations, while limited apprentice/student-learner exemptions apply to those occupations marked with an ???
  • Manufacturing and storing of explosives.
  • Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle.
  • Coal mining
  • Forest fire fighting and fire prevention, timber tract management, forestry services, logging, and saw mill occupations.
  • Power-driven woodworking machines.
  • Exposure to radioactive substances.
  • Power-driven hoisting apparatus, metal-forming, punching, bakery machines, and shearing machines.
  • Mining, other than coal mining.
  • Meat and poultry packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines)
  • Balers, compactors, and paper-products machines.
  • Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products.
  • Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs.
  • Wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations.
  • Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.
  • Excavation operations.

Exemptions from Child Labor Rules in Non-Agriculture:

  • Exemptions exist to minors younger than 16 years if age working in non-agricultural employment in a business solely owned by their parents or persons standing in place of their parents, may work anytime of day for any number of hours.
  • No exemption exists to any employment considered hazardous by the Secretary of labor.

Partial Exemptions from Non-Agricultural Hazardous Order Prohibitions:

  • Limited exemptions allow 16-17 year old apprentices and student learners to perform otherwise prohibited work under certain conditions.
  • Exemptions are found in: Power-driven woodworking machines; Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines; Meat and poultry slaughtering, packing, or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines); Balers, compactors, and power-driven paper-product machines, including scrap paper balers and paper box compactors; Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs; Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof; and Excavation operations.
  • 14-15 year old minors may be employed through a school administered or supervised program authorized by the Department of Labor.

Child Labor Rules does not apply to:

  • Minors employee as actors, performers in motion pictures, theatricals, radio, or television productions.
  • Minors employed in delivering newspapers towards consumers.
  • Minors working at home in making of wreaths composed of natural holly, pine, cedar or other evergreens (including the harvest of evergreens).