1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Is working as a bait kid child labor?

Discussion in 'Child Abuse, Neglect & Porn' started by horned_pout, May 13, 2020.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Maryland
    Hi,

    First post. Joined to ask this question.

    This is a theoretical, provoked by kids used by parents to make money on YouTube.

    If a kid is put on the street by parents who are career confidential informants as bait for offenders, long-term, without pay, with possible other aggravating factors (neglect, abuse such as pinching to make noise in parks, education interfered with, etc.), could that be considered child labor without pay, and could the child as an adult have legal recourse? I'm asking if there is any theoretical block, not whether it could or could not be proven, if documents are saved, and so on.

    The parallels to me with YouTube (or kids in a cage at the circus, for that matter) seem obvious. 1) Work is done. Parents make money, advance careers. 2) Bait kids are not tangential to stings, but central. They are working, by any reasonable definition, but without pay. 3) Stings may be long-term, kid asked to sit in park every day, eight hours a day, for an entire summer, for example. 4) Kid may be neglected at home, semi-on purpose, which increases attractiveness as target. 5) Kid may be kept out of school, for same reason, for a cover story, or to give air of vulnerability.

    Is there any validity to this idea, or is it trumped by a "law enforcement gets off the hook no matter what" clause in some law or court precedent somewhere?

    I wrote down Maryland, but that was one example. It could happen in Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, Washington, DC, or anywhere, I guess.

    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,595
    Likes Received:
    1,910
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Your hypothetical question is far too broad to be able to provide effective answers without considerable research. I'll tell you what...you go out and research it and then come back and let us know what you find out.
     
    hrforme and justblue like this.
  3. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Here is the question stated another way, hopefully easier to understand:

    "There seems no possibility whatsoever, under any reasonable, objective thought process known to humankind, that children used as bait kids can be seen as anything other than child laborers who suffer demonstrable harm from that activity, as do all other children forced to work without pay; however, the possibility exists that legally, such a definition has been avoided, to prevent harm to people employing the children. I'm willing to do my own research, but don't know where to begin, and before I do, and hopefully to find a starting point, would like to ask (and asking a question seems a reasonable thing to do, on a forum littered with 'Ask a legal question' reminders) does anyone know of cases that might shed light on this issue?"

    I hope that helps.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,366
    Likes Received:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Under the same theory one might expect children who perform chores of mowing the lawn and cleaning their room to be child laborers.
     
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,366
    Likes Received:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I will save you the research and just say no.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  6. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The key element is that the parents are career informants. They are making money, and advancing their career. They are making money, in large part, off the bait kid.

    Imagine a circus performer. She does the trapeze, and has a daughter. On weekend, she tells daughter, "Mow the lawn!" Or maybe, "We're going on a picnic, like it or not." Nobody has a problem with that. Normal parent stuff.

    But, if she dresses the daughter up in a way that makes her uncomfortable, and makes her sit by the ticket booth and look cute, eight hours a day, five days a week, so that the circus sells more tickets, that's different.

    And just like the YouTube stars, the people who do this will claim it's not work. Not a surprise.
     
  7. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Why? The elements are the same as YouTube and other child labor cases. No difference. Kid is pinched to squawk in public places. What, in terms of the elements, makes what bait kids do not work?
     
  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,366
    Likes Received:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Still, no.
    The parents provide information.
    This is nothing close to child labor.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,798
    Likes Received:
    5,476
    Trophy Points:
    113

    If you SUSPECT any child is the victim of abuse, neglect, or being harmed; you can contact the police or sheriff serving the jurisdiction where the alleged criminal activity took place.

    Alternatively, you can contact the district attorney or prosecutor for the county where the purported offense was observed.
     
  10. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    You may be right, but you're not explaining it in a way I understand.

    Why is it not labor? If you look at entertainment law, anything kids do in the context of a money-making enterprise is labor. Playing baseball for the camera? That's work, if you're asked to do it, for an episode of a TV show that makes money.

    So a kid (and I know of examples like this) is sent out to public places, day after day, told to do and say things, dressed in odd and provocative ways, pinched and so on to make noise, as part of stings put on by agencies and people who make big money, and that's not labor?

    I need a better answer, in terms of the elements, as to why it's not labor.
     
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,595
    Likes Received:
    1,910
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Then go research it.
     
    justblue likes this.
  12. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,318
    Likes Received:
    1,012
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Do you personally know of a child/ren that are being used to attract child molesters? Did you call CPS on the parents/guardians of these children?
     
    hrforme likes this.
  13. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,366
    Likes Received:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    113

    In the most simple way I can explain it- it is not employment.
    The parents might be paid for providing information, but that too is not employment.
     
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    1,153
    Trophy Points:
    113

    In Maryland, the child labor laws do not apply when all of the following are met:

    (1) the work is done outside school hours (i.e. the kid still has to meet the requirements to attend school);
    (2) the work is not in mining or manufacturing;
    (3) the work is not among the jobs the state has defined as hazardous to kids;
    (4) and is limited to certain listed jobs or is work performed for a business that the minor's parent owns or operates.

    See Maryland Labor and Employment Code § 3-203. So, if the parent is the employer and the work is done outside of school hours, the work isn't hazardous as defined by the state, and is not in mining or manufacturing then it is not illegal. In short, in Maryland what you describe would be legal as long as the kid is working for the parent and attending school as required.

    If it was the state employing the kid then it would be another matter.

    Note that if you are hoping to use child labor laws to defend against criminal charges when caught in a sting, I think that's unlikely to work even if the child was illegally employed under the child labor laws.


    Each state has its own labor laws and with regard to employing minors they vary significantly from state to state, so the state really matters. I don't think anyone here is going to analyze the law of every state for you. If you want that then you'll need to pay a lawyer to do that research for you.
     
    justblue likes this.
  15. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    1,153
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I disagree with your conclusion that it is not employment, but what the OP describes would fall outside of Maryland's child labor laws anyway for the reasons I described earlier.
     
  16. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,798
    Likes Received:
    5,476
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Anywhere, huh?

    That might even include Phoenix, Arizona, too.
     
  17. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,366
    Likes Received:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I'm simply suggesting it is more along the lines of volunteer work. This has more to do with decisions made by the parents than anything the child does.
     
  18. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    It does include Phoenix, I guess. The practice is widespread. But I, personally, am not interested so much in Phoenix, even though I live here. I mean, I am interested in where I live, and want the world to be a better place, but I'm more concerned with events of decades ago.

    Called DOL yesterday, and after some thought and a call-back, from them to me, they said this would be a violation, IF (as several posters have pointed out), the adults were "working." An informant likely would not be "working," but an undercover officer would.

    I'm talking about long-term, sketchy use of kids. Some people might think, "Yeah, my neighbor's daughter was asked to sit next to some guy at a basketball game once. Big deal." Fair enough. But the undercover world is big, and some officers get close to drug gangs or white-collar crime or extremist religious organizations or whatever, and lead sketchy and unstable lives, and they may have kids, who may be used long-term as part of entrapment schemes.

    I mentioned specifically neglect, being kept out of school, pinched to make noise, and so on, long term. I am aware, from my childhood, of kids who weren't bathed for weeks, were kept out of school at least half-time, put in situations were weapons were required, and so on. Their parents were making money and advancing law enforcement careers, I believe.

    I've wondered recently about kids who are used to a lesser extent. A big deal has been made in the past few weeks about Adele's weight loss (I know who she is, not a fan, she's a British singer) and female body image. The same kind of point is made about magazine ads. But a kid could be dressed in provocative clothing at a very young age, asked to walk the walk, and receive approval from the most important people in her life. I bet that matters. How could it not? Later on, the kid acts out, in some cases. It doesn't have to be all cases, just as all people don't have to get lung cancer for cigarettes to be bad. There's a line there, from bait to acting out. Good advice, like "You shouldn't dress this way when you're older," might not matter. After all, kids drive like the adults they've watched drive all their lives, not as they're told to drive.

    I think, at the very least, their should be transparency and oversight in these cases.
     
  19. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,318
    Likes Received:
    1,012
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I asked and you never answered. Do you know of a child that is being used as "bait"?
     
  20. horned_pout

    horned_pout Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi. I tried to answer yesterday, but I ran up against a "5 posts in 24 hours" limit.

    Again, the present day is not my concern. I'm concerned with events in the past.

    And my questions, again, at this point are hypothetical. I might forget about this tomorrow. I might spend a year and write a book. I might do something else.

    I simply wanted to ask the question, because while I am aware of things in my own life, I don't know much about the law. I was wondering if the question had come up, if it were settled, and so on. Somebody might have said, "Yeah, that's been answered. Kids have no recourse. Fulano vs. John Doe, blah, blah." Or, "That can't happen. See, blah, blah, blah."

    Obviously, I've been exposed to this type of thing in some way, and so, like any intelligent person with experience in a given area, I might look at a dynamic and say, "I know what's going on there." But my focus, again, is not the present, not on what's around me today.

    If you're concerned with reporting laws, I'm well aware of them, I have no proof of anything I would be required to report, and I won't take a chance on ruining anybody's name unnecessarily, on a hunch. Give me credit for that, at least.

    EDIT: Anyone who takes the position that any case of children used as bait or abused in stings needs to be reported, kind of makes the case that this is wrong activity, don't they? Because that reaction sounds like, "Any suggestion of this is intolerable! Alert the authorities at once!" Other posters are trying loophole arguments, that it isn't really work, or implying that the only person concerned with this would be a sex offender. If your position is that this kind of thing would not be good, we agree.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.