In a new report, Human Rights Watch has found that children as young as 7 years old face dangerous working conditions on tobacco farms throughout the American South.
In states such as Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, some child labor in tobacco fields is legal with a parent’s permission as long as the work does not interfere with school hours.
In their report, “Tobacco’s Hidden Children: Hazardous Child Labor in U.S. Tobacco Farming,” Human Rights Watch found that nearly 75 percent of the child workers they interviewed experienced serious health ailments from exposure to nicotine, toxic pesticides, dangerous equipment and brutal heat during long hours in the fields. Many children experienced nausea, headaches, vomiting and rashes.
HRW is bringing their findings to tobacco companies in an effort to get them to more closely regulate working conditions on farms in their supply chains.