Federal agents found more than two dozen minors working in Ohio poultry plant

From NBC: “Federal agents found more than two dozen minors illegally working inside a poultry plant in Kidron, Ohio, earlier this month, according to local immigration advocates who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity.

The children, mainly from Guatemala, according to the advocates, were working in meat processing and sanitation in a plant run by Gerber’s Poultry, which produces Amish Farm Chicken, advertised with the slogan “Better feed, better taste.”

NBC News has previously reported on the 69% rise in child labor in the United States since 2018, particularly among Guatemalan youth who have recently migrated and find themselves working in the meatpacking and sanitation of meatpacking plants. 

The immigration advocates working with the Guatemalan community around Kidron, which is near Canton, say they believe some of the children have been forced to work by nonrelated adults who have housed them and are taking some or all of their wages.

Duvan Tomas Perez. Age 16, killed in a Mississippi plant in July. From Guatemala, employed in violation of child labor laws. The incident is still under investigation and if regulations have been broken, they may be charged $30,000.

Workers under the age of 18 are not allowed to work in poultry plants because it’s deemed to be too dangerous and therefore a violation of child labor laws. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division have launched investigations into the incident, a spokesperson said. Any company found to be in violation could face a federal fine of more than $30,000 per incident.