Suffer The Little Children

A nationwide sweep uncovers exploitation of young workers

Like breadlines and Hoovervilles, sweatshops and child labor were supposed to be relics of an uglier era. Yet behind barricaded storefronts in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, N.Y., immigrant women huddle over sewing machines, stitching $2 blouses that stores sell for $15.99. Beside them work children, some as young as eight, snipping thread and bagging dresses for as little as $2.50 an hour. The narrow aisles of the garment factories are cluttered beyond hope of reaching a fire exit, which in many instances are blocked by debris. In one plant, the wall around the plastic crucifix is peeling, the tin ceiling sagging, the...

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