In gross violation of child labor laws, children as young as 12, are now working at dangerous jobs around the country. They are working in factories, some late into the night at machinery like fast-moving pulleys and gears that have torn off fingers and ripped open a women’s scalp.

They are migrant children who crossed the border without their parents who now work at machinery that packages household products that nearly all Americans are familiar with.- cereals like Lucky Charms and Cheerios, granola bars like Nature Valley and Chewys. They work for Hearthside Food Solutions that packages the products and ships them across the United Sates.

The practice takes us back about a hundred years before the enactment of state and federal child labor laws that outlawed the dark days of the early industrial revolution when children were exploited in record numbers in factories. And a number of states, instead of outlawing the practice, are passing laws legalizing it. The latest to do so was Arkansas under  recently elected Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump’s one-time press secretary.

A recent report in the NY Times detailed the exploitation of children now working at cut-rate wages. They are the 15 year-olds at Hearthside Food Solutions, the 12 year-olds fixing roofs in Florida and Tennessee, and the underage slaughterhouse workers in Mississippi, North Carolina and Delaware. They work on overnight shifts at wood sawing machines  in South Dakota. They build walls around vacation homes in Hawaii and run milking machines in Vermont. They are 13 year-old-girls that wash hotel sheets in Virginia and wash dishes in restaurants across the country.

“In many parts of the country,” reports the Times, “middle and high school teachers in English-language learner programs say it is now common for nearly all their students to rush off to long shifts after their classes end.

“Migrant child labor benefits both under-the-table operations and global corporations,” The Times found. “In Los Angeles, children stitch ‘Made in America’ tags into J. Crew shirts. They bake dinner rolls sold at Walmart and Target, process milk used in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and help debone chicken sold at Whole Foods. As recently as the fall, middle-schoolers made Fruit of the Loom socks in Alabama. In Michigan, children make auto parts used by Ford and General Motors.”

For a full report on this new labor atrocity, click on the link below.

NY Times, 2/25