Mohamed Sidibay was born into the war-ridden country of Sierra Leone, which was engulfed in a brutal civil war from 1991 to 2002. Although he has been through difficult experiences in his past, he does not view himself that different from anyone else. He graciously shared his story during a recent meeting of the Child Labor Coalition, which NCL co-chairs and coordinates.
Do you ever think about people from the past you wish you could go back in time to meet? At the top or near the top of my list is César Chávez, who was born on March 31 in 1927. César died in 1993 a few months before I started working for a farmworker organization, the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP).
They are far too young to legally purchase cigarettes, yet children as young as 7 are being permitted to work in American tobacco fields and to be exposed to acute nicotine poisoning. Momentum is building to ban child labor from U.S. tobacco fields, as news is spreading of this American disgrace. Learn what is being done about this and how you can get involved.
As a nation, we have turned our backs on some of America’s most vulnerable workers. Right here, in Kentucky and other tobacco-producing states, children as young as 7 years old are facing Third World conditions. Toiling in the hot sun, these child workers must don black plastic trash bags with holes poked for their head and arms to avoid contact with tobacco leaves. Without it, their skin absorbs nicotine — a lot of nicotine. On a humid day, when tobacco leaves are dripping with dew, a tobacco worker may be exposed to levels of nicotine equivalent to smoking three dozen cigarettes. Nearly a two-pack-a-day habit.
By Julie Duffy, Child Labor Coalition Intern
No one expected 18 year-old Christina LoBrutto's first overnight shift at the Pathmark grocery store in Old Bridge, New Jersey to be her last. Sadly, however, the recent high school graduate lost her life after being fatally shot by a co-worker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). LoBrutto’s tragic and deadly story of workplace violence is not as uncommon as you might think.
By Alesha Mitchell, Communications Intern
I knew about its existence in Africa, in Asia, and even some parts of Europe, but never have I heard of child labor right here in the United States. June 12 was World Day Against Child Labor, and the Child Labor Coalition in conjunction with The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, held a congressional briefing.
For several years, the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which NCL co-chairs with the American Federation of Teachers, has worked closely with the Cotton Campaign to reduce child labor and forced child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest. Uzbekistan, run by totalitarian dictator Islam Karimov, is the only country in the world where the central government has recently played a major role in causing large-scale forced child labor.
Imagine you are a child, age 13, 14, or 15. Gang members in your school are threatening to beat, kidnap, or kill you. They want money, but you are poor. They threaten to harm you and your family if you don’t pay them large sums of money. There is no way for you to obtain those sums. This is the situation faced by increasing numbers of teens living in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as gangs spread throughout their countries.
Grecia Balli began working in farm fields when she was 10 years old. At age 14, she decided to drop out of school because her life as a migrant farmworker caused her to switch schools frequently, making it difficult for her to keep up academically. By age 17 she no longer dreamed of becoming a police officer, which had been her goal. Her life revolved around farm work.