On February 22 at 11:00am, the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus hosted a briefing on the hidden problem of child labor in America.

The briefing focused on child labor in the U.S. agricultural industry and featured footage from the upcoming documentary “The Harvest.” In addition, the panel included stories of former child farmworkers and findings from a new multi-state Human Rights Watch investigation on their working conditions. Panelists highlighted the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act, HR 3564), which addresses double-standards in US labor law that allow child farmworkers to work at younger ages, for longer hours, and under more dangerous conditions than other working youth.

This briefing was supported by the First Focus Campaign for Children, the American Federation of Teachers, Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, Child Labor Coalition, and Human Rights Watch.

Panelists included:

  • Norma Flores, project director for the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs.
  • Maria Mandujano, former child farmworker, college student, and activist with Student Action for Farmworkers.
  • U Roberto (Robin) Romano, award winning photographer, filmmaker and human rights educator, currently filming farmworker children and their families for the upcoming documentary, The Harvest/La Cosecha.
  • Zama Coursen-Neff, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division.