Mitch Ellmauer, Intern, International Labor Rights Forum
If you are in Los Angeles this week, you should check out The Harvest/ La Cosecha, a new documentary about child migrant farmworkers in the United States. We often view child labor as a problem for other countries; as something that happens far away, as an issue to be dealt with in developing economies where labor protections and poverty is widespread. But child labor is a problem here in United States as well.
Every year over 400,000 American children are torn from their homes to harvest the food we all eat. The children travel from Texas onion fields to Michigan apple orchards and then on to tomato fields in Florida; they work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week without the protection of American labor law.
The Harvest was directed by U. Roberto Romano and produced by Eva Longoria. It follows the travels of three young migrant farmworkers: Zulema Lopez, age 12, Perla Sanchez, age 14, and victor Huapilla, age 16, as they work through the 2009 harvest. Check out this preview of the film:
The Harvest sheds light on child labor in the United States and the hardships faced by migrant farmworkers, issues are swept under the rug far too often in America. It is playing at the Laemmler Music Hall in Los Angeles through August 11th. You can find show times and ticket information here.
U. Roberto Romano is also the director of another film about child labor in agriculture: The Dark Side of Chocolate. This film focuses on the ongoing use of trafficked child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa. You can order a copy of the film and host a screening of the film in your community -- find out more here.