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Six Year Olds Shucking Oysters Shock The Internet

Oyster shuckers and baby tenders at Pass Packing Co. All worked from before daybreak until 5 P.M., February 1911


The U.S. National Archives, Lewis Hine, 

All around the world in the early 20th Century, child labour was a commonplace practice. Even quite developed nations relied on putting children, even as young as four, to work. 

A photo of three, weathered children has been doing the rounds of the internet recently. The shocking photo is of three young girls, Josie (6 years old), Bertha (6 years old) and Sophie (10 years old).

They worked as oyster shuckers and were expected to work as early as 4am. You can see from the photos that their blistering and deformed hands have been a result of constant overwork and workplace accidents. 

Young oyster shuckers, Josie, six years old, Bertha, six years old, Sophie, ten years old, Port Royal, South Carolina, 1912. Work began at 4 AM. Be thankful for child labor laws. from r/pics

The picture was taken in February 1911 and belongs to the Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection, posted by u/beaverko via Reddit. In relation to history, it hasn't been that long since we expected children to work rather than go to school and have the freedom to play and enjoy their youth. Of course, this is still a battle that many developing countries have to fight, as there are still many little children forced to work in today's age. 

Fortunately Australia is not one of those countries. We also don't have to worry about shucking oysters along the Windara Reef anytime soon!