Alejandrina, 12, wanted to be a teacher. But she hasn't been to school for years. Instead, she spends her days picking in the fields with her family. "I work because we don't have any money and we need money to eat things," she told The Times.
Child labor is illegal in Mexico. Still, about 100,000 children under 14 pick crops for pay at small- and mid-size farms across Mexico.
This Sunday, read the final story in a four-part investigative series by reporter Richard Marosi and photographer Don Bartletti on the working conditions behind the steep rise in exports of tomatoes, cucumbers and other produce to the U.S. from Mexico.
For thousands of farm laborers south of the border, they found, the export boom is a story of exploitation and extreme hardship.