The Human Rights Watch released a new report which documents the failure of the United States to protect hundreds of thousands of children engaged in grueling and dangerous farm work. The report, entitled, Fields of Peril: Child Labor in U.S. Agriculture, found that child farmworkers as young as 12 years old often work for hire for 10 or more hours a day, five to seven days a week, and some start working part-time at age 6 or 7.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 59 children under age 18 who have worked on farms in 14 states across the United States. Due to their long work hours and frequent migration, the report finds that farmworker children drop out of school at four times the national rate. Furthermore, these children are also at risk of pesticide poisoning, serious injury, heat illness, and fatalities. Girls and women in these jobs are exceptionally vulnerable to sexual abuse. Human Rights Watch called on Congress to amend the loopholes in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that permit children to work for hire in agriculture at far younger ages, for far longer hours, and in far more hazardous conditions than in any other industry.