Labor department finds child labor law violations with religious group

Source: Spectrum News Central NY

By Spectrum News Staff  |  June 5, 2018 @10:12 PM

A child labor investigation is focusing on a religious group with members in both Ithaca and Oneonta.

The Department of Labor has been investigating the “Twelve Tribes” religious community, based in Cambridge, in Washington County.

A preliminary investigation found multiple alleged child labor law violations involving 12 children on a farm.

The investigation stemmed from an “Inside Edition” report that aired nationwide Friday. That report claims children are routinely put to work making soap and beauty products for high-end brands like Accure and Savannah Bee.

Members of the religious community would not speak to us on camera, but say the report is out of context and that children were simply visiting their parents at work.

Cambridge Mayor Carman Bogle says she’s never had a problem with “Twelve Tribes” but calls the allegations alarming.

“Anything pertaining to children is disheartening when you hear of what’s happening,” says Bogle. “But behind closed doors we don’t know what goes on. But now that the authorities are involved, I’m sure they will get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

The farm could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines, depending on the outcome of the labor department’s investigation.

They’re also looking into a number of other “Twelve Tribes” entities, including The Yellow Deli and Community in Oneonta, Community in Ithaca and Maté Factor in Ithaca.



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