MEXICO CITY – Authorities in northern Mexico found 63 children between the ages of 8 and 17 working long hours in miserable conditions at a vegetable packing company, officials said Thursday.
The state government in Coahuila, which borders Texas, said the minors told authorities they had only a half-day off each week and were paid 100 pesos (about $6) a day, slightly higher than the minimum wage of about 70 pesos ($4).
They allegedly were given two meals a day and slept on thin mats on the floor at the property near Ramos Arizpe, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of the city of Monterrey.
Six men were detained and the children, who were working alongside several dozen adults, were taken to a shelter, state authorities said.
Prosecutor Yezka Garza told local TV that authorities responded to a complaint from a man who tried to pick up his daughter but was not allowed to take her because she hadn't met her quota.
Garza said the children had been working 15-hour days.
"We are taking statements from every boy, girl and adult to have a well-prepared case file," Garza said. "We have been flying over the entire area to look for similar properties nearby."
Mexican law generally allows children ages 14 to 16 to work in some jobs, but not in many agricultural tasks. Child labor is widespread, however.