Exposed: The US tobacco firms treating farm workers like slaves
MP Jim Sheridan joined a fact-finding team investigating the plight of the workers picking tobacco for the cigarettes sold in Britain and around the world.
Boys as young as 13 and women up to the age of 60 work on the North Carolina tobacco farms without water or protective clothing while women are forced to offer bosses sex for shifts.
Their squalid living conditions and human rights abuses were witnessed first-hand by Sheridan, who flew out to the US state to investigate.
He visited five farms which supply multimillion-pound tobacco companies to expose the poor conditions endured by workers picking leaves.
The Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said: “What I saw was quite horrific. It was like living in the times of the slave trade.
“The farm workers’ job is to pick the tobacco leaves but they’re not given any gloves, masks or protective clothing and, as a result of that, they’re inhaling the dangerous chemicals that come off the tobacco leaves and pesticides that often cause them to become really ill with nausea and vomiting.
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