Parents forcing children to work tobacco fields in Yumbe

A concerned citizen in from Yumbe district would like to flag the fact that forceful child labour is very rampant in that area of the country. Moreover, it is happening in a sector that is significantly harmful to children's health. She says, “there are too many cases of child labour in Yumbe district where children are forced to work in tobacco fields by their parents."

Tobacco farming is known to present health hazards to those that grow and harvest it. In particular, they susceptible to a poisoning known as Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS). The poisoning occurs when they absorb nicotine through their skins when they come in contact with the mature leaf of the plant. GTS is characterized largely by nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness.

“Compared with adults, children may be especially vulnerable to GTS because their body size is small relative to the dose of nicotine absorbed, they lack tolerance to the effects of nicotine, and they lack knowledge about the risks of harvesting tobacco, especially after a recent rain,” according to a report in the journal – Public Health Reports, published by the US’s National Library of Medicine.

- Aug. 6, 2013
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