Protection sought for child farm workers

| September 4, 2014

Fifty US-based organizations have called on President Obama to protect children working on US tobacco farms.

The letter, issued last week by the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) and 15 other groups, expressed alarm that children were risking acute nicotine poisoning, pesticide poisoning, and other health and safety hazards in US tobacco fields.

They asked the president to take narrowly-tailored regulatory action to protect child workers, who are ‘allowed’ under labor law to work in tobacco fields at the age of 12.

The letter, signed by organizations representing millions of teachers, healthcare professionals, workers, farm workers, and advocates concerned about the safety, education, and welfare of children, also asked the president to call on the Department of Labor to conduct targeted field investigations to ensure that no children under 12 are working in the fields illegally.

“Child tobacco workers reported working long hours, often in extreme heat and without protective gear,” said Dr. Lorretta Johnson, co-chair of the CLC and the secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers.

“Unfortunately, child labor is a common practice in the United States, and it’s legal.

“We stand with Human Rights Watch, the CLC, and many others to call attention to the great dangers faced by children working on tobacco farms.

“We urge the administration to take measures to end hazardous child labor in tobacco farming.”

Category: Breaking News

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