not counted in any systematic way, making it difficult to estimate the extent of agricultural work by children under the age of 14.

I'm 9 years old and I've been working in the fields with my parents since I was 4. We work hard, sometimes over 10 hours a day. We cut paprika with shears and stoop over to bag onions. We pick nuts and tap garlic.

Testimony before the Forum on Federal Study on Child Labor

March 23, 1998, San Francisco, California

Whether young people are working on their parents' farms, are hired to work on the farms of others, or are accompanying their migrant farmworker parents, many of the hazards they face are similar. Analysts of child labor issues in agriculture often differentiate between family farm children and migrant farmworker children. Although this distinction may be useful for selected purposes, it is misleading in suggesting that there are exclusive categories of children who work in agriculture. In reality, there is a spectrum of variables with a range of conditions that affect the health and safety of all child laborers in agriculture. For example, any child working in agriculture could incur a traumatic injury or chronic disease. Conditions external to the work itself, such as poverty, education, and public policy may have a far stronger effect on children's well-being, but these conditions affect individuals in different ways. For example, migrant farmworker children are more likely to be living in poor conditions than nonmigrant children. Because it is so difficult to distinguish among the different groups of young farmworkers in either the employment or injury data, this chapter deals with the agricultural setting in general. When a particular group may be more affected by a specific hazard, it is noted. This chapter details some of the unique features of agriculture as a work setting, the types of risks young people encounter on farms, the injuries they suffer, and the barriers to regulating child labor on farms.



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