Vrsaljka Matijevic, the Croatian Children Ombudswoman, asked the Social Welfare Centre and the Police to investigate the child abuse cases involving children, between seven and ten years of age, being forced to work in inhuman high-temperature conditions.
The children from the Roma settlement near Orehovica, according to the media, have collected potatoes in the field for minimal wages. The media got interested in the case in the first place after one child drowned in the Orehovica Lake, after the children went for a swim to refresh themselves.
The Criminal Code prescribes a sentence of up to three years of prison for "parents, adopted parents, caretaker or other persons that forced children and/or minors to a work not suited to their gentle age, or force them, for purpose of personal gains, to behavious harmful for their normal development".
The question here is whether this is, indeed, as case of the children having been forced to work in the fields. If they have been forced to work in the fields then probably by nothing else but poverty. Gypsy children have always been working in the fields, in the UK, in the USA, and elsewhere, as a means of helping to earn a crust for the families. The picture that accompanies the article from Oneworld.net would not concur with the children being "small" children but look like about 10-12 years of age. Then again the age given was the age at which we all used to do field labor. The drowning of the child, as horrible as it may be, is nothing but an accident. Going into a lake can cause that to happen, especially if one is not a great swimmer and one encounters undercurrents and the like.