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Underaged tobacco farmers face hazardous conditions

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 01:25

For children helping on their familes' tobacco farms in Indonesia, hazardous conditions are a reality that won't change any time soon. Julie Noce reports.

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BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~** Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE ** Children in East Java use their bare hands to plant, fertilize and harvest tobacco plants. The crop is covered in a sticky substance.... nicotine..... and handling it can make you sick. I feel dizzy, and nauseous, this 13-year-old says. "Green Tobacco Sickness" is an acute form of nicotine poisoning and for thousands of underaged children helping on their families' tobacco farms, it poses a major hazard. A recent report by Human Rights Watch says families lack information about how to keep their children safe. HRW researcher, Margaret Wurth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH RESEARCHER, MARGARET WURTH, SAYING: "Children just should not be doing hazardous work where they're handling tobacco that could have affect their health. The problem here is that, you know, among the families we interviewed, very few of them have ever received any kind of meaningful education about what the hazards of the work could be for their kids, so they didn't know. That's why it's essential that companies and the government get this information to families so they can protect their kids." Indonesia is one of the world's fastest-growing markets for tobacco products. Even with government programs aimed at ending child labor- changes won't come overnight. When I send to tobacco to the storehouse, this farmer says, they don't ask if I employ children, or if there are children who work to help their parents. They just look at the quality of the tobacco.

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Underaged tobacco farmers face hazardous conditions

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 01:25