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Report Exposes Child Labor and Dangerous Conditions on American Tobacco Farms

A new, disturbing report from Human Rights Watch reveals the long hours, hazardous conditions and health problems of child workers—some as young as 7-years-old—legally working on farms in the United States. As part of their investigation, HRW interviewed more than 140 young children who have experienced a variety of illnesses and symptoms after prolonged exposure to pesticides and nicotine in fields across the south.

Shockingly, in states like North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia—where the children were interviewed—minors are permitted to work on farms, as long as they have parental approval and the jobs don’t overlap with school schedules. As ABC News reports, in addition to the health problems, many of the children “worked long hours, often in extreme heat, without overtime pay or sufficient breaks and wore no, or inadequate, protective gear.” HRW is meeting with cigarette companies in an effort to get them to change their policies to discourage child labor …

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