Stolen Childhoods: Nightline might actually be worth watching tonight

June 15, 2005 | Nightline

Tonight’s broadcast will change the way you think about the coffee you drink and the vegetables you eat.

Why? Because the production of such goods may have involved the labor of one of the estimated 246 million children worldwide for whom life is nothing but work.

The prevalence of child labor in the world is the subject of a documentary film by Len Morris and Robin Romano called, “Stolen Childhoods,” which is the focus of tonight’s broadcast. The filmmakers traveled to eight countries to document the stories of child laborers around the world: 12-year-old girls working in gravel quarries in India’s 120-degree heat; 8- and 10-year-old boys who make $5 for three months of fishing the tides on the sea of Sumatra; children picking coffee beans in Kenya — a country where as many as 4 million children are estimated to be working.

Sound like the far-off realities of third-world countries? Maybe. But the United States was one of those eight countries that the filmmakers visited. And work is not such a distant reality for the estimated 300,000 to 800,000 children who toil on America’s farms. Federal law offers less protection for those children than you might think.

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