Muckrakers of the 21st Century, Child Labor
Despite common belief, child labor still exists in the United States. In some areas more than others. The government defines child labor as "work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children." There are companies in America that employ kids who; ● are under the required age to do jobs in dangerous environments ● are paid less than minimum wage
● are not even supposed to be in this country (illegal immigrants) Many of these companies would not be the first place you would look for illegal workers. One such company that was thriving from its illegal ventures was the Agriprocessors Inc. Kosher Slaughterhouse and Meats Packing Plant in Postville, Iowa. The so called “religious” CEO, Sholom Rubashkin was involved in many behind the counter activities. Besides the $35 million dollars he gained illegally through bank fraud, he was a strong supporter of child labor. His company helped provide fake documents for children who were either under-aged or illegal immigrants, so that they would be able to work for him. Kids as young as 13 were working on slippery, blood-covered floors, using ban-saws and other such limb-removing equipment to cut up livestock. They had little of the proper safety equipment. They were mostly paid minimum wage, but there were some kids that were paid “behind the counter” to do “low risk jobs, such as cleaning floors or transporting materials. What is now known as the Postville Raid, occurred in 2008. A large scale raid was performed by Homeland Security and the CIA. It resulted in over 400 arrests of both adult, and child illegal immigrant workers (pictures below). This is just one company that took advantage of children in need. There are many more out there that haven't been caught. Not all companies that hire children use illegal child labor. There are...