Child Labor and the Death Penalty

News Team: Tiffany Eng, 17; Natasha Kirtchuk, 12; Elizabeth Negron, 11; and Nily Rozic, 17

Just before South Carolina voters headed to the primary polls, the Democratic candidates fielded questions from an auditorium of immigrant-rights activists and low-income advocates in a 90-minute session called "Dialogue with America's Families." Sponsored by the Center for Community Change, the forum presented the candidates (Sen. Lieberman did not attend) with first-person stories of the Bush administrations affects on low-income families. 200 young people from New York City were also part of the event. CPL's political team questioned the candidates after the presentation.

Kids can buy name brand sneakers in this country that were made by children in sweatshop conditions in another country. How do you feel about that?

Al Sharpton

Rev. Al Sharpton
I think that is wrong. If we allow the marketplaces of America to be inundated with products that are manufactured by people who use slave labor then we are in a sense condoning it. I would outlaw it. I would fight to close our borders to anyone that engaged in less than what they should when it comes to labor standards and they would not have a marketplace in the United States.

Gov. Howard Dean
What we need to do is change our trade agreements. Our trade agreements are good for incorporations but they're not very good for working people around the world. We need to enforce child labor laws around the world. As a condition to importing products, we need to enforce child labor laws, minimum wage laws, overtime laws, safety laws. All the same labor laws that are in the United States need to be enforced around the world or we don't have an obligation to import those products duty free.

There are 73 juvenile offenders on death row in the United States. This is the only country that stills executes people for crimes they committed as minors. What is your reaction to that?

Rev. Al Sharpton

I have watched people die. There was one man that was executed in Texas while Bush was governor that requested that Bianca Jagger, Jesse Jackson and I be there. And we watched him die. I was convinced that his case did not warrant a conviction particularly not leading to the death penalty. So not only am I against children on death row, I'm against anyone on death row. We've seen too many cases where cases have been proven to been wrongly decided. Therefore since we cannot restore life. The state should not take life.

Gov. Howard Dean
I don't believe that people under 18 should be subjected to the death penalty. Unless you're an adult, you can make the case that you don't have full comprehension of what your doing.

Dennis Kucinich

Rep. Dennis Kucinich
I'm opposed to the death penalty and as president I will move to end it.

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