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Kids as Young as 5 Working in the Fields of Blueberry Grower; Walmart Severs Ties, Feds Levy Fines

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posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 06:17 PM
ABC News Investigation: The Blueberry Children

Walmart and the Kroger supermarket chain have severed ties with one of the country's major blueberry growers after an ABC News investigation found children, including one as young as five-years-old, working in its fields.

The children were discovered at the Adkin Blue Ribbon Packing Company, in South Haven, Michigan, this summer by graduate school students working with ABC News as fellows with the Carnegie Corporation.

The full report on the investigation airs tonight on Nightline.

A five-year-old girl, named Suli, was seen lugging two heavy buckets of blueberries picked by her parents and brothers, aged seven and eight.

An 11-year-old boy in the Adkin fields told the Carnegie fellows he had been picking blueberries since the age of eight.

ABC Pictures of Child Labour in the Fileds

When I first read this, I thought it was just a few kids helping their parents out as they worked in the fields.

But it seems that they are actually working, day in day out picking the berries.

I think the parents have to take some of the blame, as well as the farmer. But I suppose they are illegals, although I don't recall reading that, but anyway these kids should be in school, not at work. I guess that financially they have little choice.

The report states that child labour is rife in America's agriculture industry.

Any ATSers have any experience of this?

All the best, Kiwifoot

[edit on 30-10-2009 by kiwifoot]

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 06:35 PM
I'm not sure this is abuse. It is work, sometimes hard work. My grandfather raised his 12 children on a farm and they all knew how to work hard. None of them ended up in prison and they all held down jobs and some are business owners.

The opposite of this is when children are removed from their parents for being obese.

When the economy totally collapses, kids today may actually find out what work is all about. These kids have a head start on them.

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 06:43 PM
They were discovered this Summer therefore they would not be in school.

I see nothing wrong with kids working provided that is is not under duress.
This does not seem like a hazzardous job.

Working is a lot better than some of the mindless things kids do these days. We ruin our kids by giving them games and toys when we should be teaching them to be responsible adults. Preventing kids from working is part of our social problems these days. This country became great because the kids on the homestead had to do their part in earning their living. Kids do not develope any sense of responsibility. We have come to assume that it majikally appears when they quit school or graduate.
It just doesn't work that way.

I would assume that the younger children here had some sort of supervision..parent or older sibling.
I really cannot imagine a 5 year old having the attention span to keep doing this job for very long. At any rate, they are learning to be responsible for their own keep.
I think the report is exaggerated and misleading.

When I was grade school age we would go pick strawberries on week ends. We got paid as we brought in the filled container. We came when we wanted to and left when we wanted to.

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 06:45 PM

Originally posted by OhZone

I think the report is exaggerated and misleading.

When I was grade school age we would go pick strawberries on week ends. We got paid as we brought in the filled container. We came when we wanted to and left when we wanted to.

Yes, that's what I was imagining when I first read the piece.

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 08:17 PM
Ask anyone who grew up on a farm and I'll bet they were working chores of some kind starting at very young ages. In the first half of the 20th century, farmers would have lots of children just to ensure a large work force. It wasn't unheard of for some farmers to have 10 or 12 kids to provide more hands for working the farm.

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 08:53 PM
The Amish still have large families to work on their farms. A couple winters ago I watched them working in the freezing cold bringing ice out with a horse drawn sleigh/wagon. It was pretty amazing. They all looked cold to the bone, but I bet none of them wished they weren't with the guys working.

The photo of that five year old carrying a bucket of berries probably isn't what it seems. I bet she was just taking them somewhere. No way did she pick them. I took my 15 year old out picking them this summer and she only got half a bucket by the time I filled mine.

The kids didn't look like they missed a meal and they were with their parents all day long.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 02:12 AM
If they're doing it and not attending school, then some issues should be raised. If it's during the summer while school is out i don't think it's a big deal. They said the younger ones were there with their parents.

I used to pick raspberries from age 12-14 in the summer, got $2 a flat. Also worked on my grandpa's farm picking various fruit, cutting wood, etc., for free of course.

If nothing else it'll give'em a strong work ethic and make them appreciate the value of money alot more than the current Xbox generation.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 02:24 AM
By law children over the age of 6 are supposed to be in school or being home schooled.

That aside, if they are being home schooled, then I don't see a problem with this so long as the children aren't being physically abused or physically coersed in anyway.

These children are getting an education in a few regards.
They are using Mathematics in numbers - weighing - and how much things cost, they are learning about nature and how to grow food - food production,
they are learning skills in team work and quite a few other things.

I hope if these kids are put into school after this, that they are given some kind of credit for what they have already learned hands-on not just theoretically.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 03:36 AM
Leave it to some Smug graduate students to go out and find this major " slave trade" just so they can put out a story, and tell their mommy's and daddy's how much good they did in the world.

some people look for injustice and news so hard that they create it.

I know I was a lil harsh, .... but come on. Everyone here who worked as a child has nothing bad to say about it, and wouldn't give it back for the world. I worked at my grandpa's ranch, and for my dad's landscape business when I could hardly life a shovel. It teaches something you can never learn from a textbook. Work ethic, discipline, commitment, value.

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