Special Series


Migrant teens working in Processing Plants

A two-year investigation by The Public’s Radio reveals how some migrant teens end up working in risky jobs at seafood processing plants in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Underage and Unprotected examines the role of staffing agencies, which many teens said hired them and sent them to jobs at processors. The series also exposes weaknesses in the systems government agencies rely on to uncover child labor law violations. And it shows the toll the work takes on young people.

Reporters interviewed more than two dozen migrant teens who said they worked in processing plants as far back as 2016. All of the teens said they had to work to pay debts to smugglers, send money home to their families, or support themselves.

Haga clic aquí para leer y escuchar las historias en español.

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The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating possible violations of child labor, overtime pay, and anti-retaliation laws at two processors and one Rhode Island-based staffing agency.

How a migrant teen tried to juggle going to high school and working overnights at a seafood processor.

Underage and Unprotected is a collaboration between The Public’s Radio and FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The series was reported by The Public’s Radio reporters Nadine Sebai and Nina Sparling.

Ena Alvarado provided fact-checking. Cristina Bernal provided Spanish translations. Lynn Carrillo provided legal services.

James Baumgartner and Gaby Baez provided audio production. Voice actors include Lia Lockhart, Crespo Rosario II, Ramon Hernandez and Osiel Moreno.

Mia Zuckerkandel and Jeremy Bernfeld were the supervising editors. Sally Eisele is The Public’s Radio’s chief content officer.

For FRONTLINE: Former Tow Journalism Fellow Bruce Gil contributed reporting, research and production. Former digital reporter Paula Moura contributed research. Priyanka Boghani provided digital production. Erin Texeira was the supervising editor.

The Public’s Radio takes pride in serving you by providing well-researched, thought provoking journalism you can trust.

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