May 5, 2010


This report was researched and written by Zama Coursen-Neff, deputy director of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. The report was edited by Jo Becker, advocacy director of the Children’s Rights Division. Lance Compa, Andrew Mawson, Alison Parker, James Ross, Rebecca Schleifer, Janet Walsh, and Lois Whitman also reviewed and commented on the report. Alison Parker contributed to the material relating to immigration. Zoe Hutchison, Kyle Knight, Heather Renwick, and Andrew Strong provided research assistance.

Kyle Knight, associate in the Children's Rights Division provided editing and production assistance. Anna Lopriore, creative manager; Grace Choi, publications director; and Fitzroy Hepkins, mail manager, provided production assistance.

Thomas A. Arcury, Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine; Mónica Ramírez, Southern Poverty Law Center; Gregory Schell, Migrant Farmworker Justice Project, Florida Legal Services; David Strauss, Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs; and William R. Tamayo, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also provided expertise and helpful comments. Human Rights Watch especially thanks James Leonard for his extensive expertise and advice. Human Rights Watch is solely responsible for the contents of this report, and any errors or omissions are ours.

Human Rights Watch is particularly grateful to the following individuals and organizations for their generous assistance: the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), Irene Favila, Esperanza Gamboa and staff of the WIA Youth Program at Manatee Technical Institute, Alice Larson, the staff of Migrant Health Promotion, Melinda Wiggens and staff of Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), and Josie Ellis and staff of Vecinos Inc. Farmworker Health Program. We also thank Paul Strauss, Acorn; Reid Maki, Child Labor Coalition; Casey Trupin and Dan Ford, Columbia Legal Services; Thomas Thornburg and staff of Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan; Carol Dansereau, Farm Worker Pesticide Project; Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan; Lester Claravall, Interstate Labor Standards Association; Anna Jensen; Ingrid Lobet; Deliana Garcia and Amy Liebman, Migrant Clinicians Network; Roger Rosenthal, Migrant Legal Action Program; Julia Perez; Bobbi Ryder, National Center for Farmworker Health; Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League; Carol Brooke, North Carolina Justice Center; Rodolfo Sanchez, Texas Rural Legal Aid; and others who did not wish to be named. Human Rights Watch thanks officials at the US Department of Labor, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health who provided information and agreed to be interviewed for this report.

Human Rights Watch also thanks Robin Romano, filmmaker, and Lee Tucker, the author of the organization’s 2000 report on child farmworkers, Fingers to the Bone: United States Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers.

Most of all, we thank the many children and young people who spoke with us, recounting their experiences in the fields of the United States. With them this report would not have been possible.