There is yet another attempt to prevent children from working in tobacco fields in the U.S.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., have reintroduced The Children Don’t Belong on Tobacco Farms Act, which would prevent anyone from the under age of 18-years-old from working in a tobacco field in the U.S. Currently, federal law allows for children as young as 12-years-old to work agricultural jobs, including tobacco fields.
Child labor in tobacco fields has existed for centuries, though the use of children waned in modern times, especially in the few areas of America that still grow tobacco for cigar use. Part of this is because of pressure that was placed on tobacco companies and growers that led to many companies agreeing to stop employing children at their farms.
The Windsor Historical Society notes that in the 1950s, not only were a variety of immigrants brought to Connecticut to work the fields but that teenagers were bussed in from as far as Florida. Windsor, Ct. remains the epicenter of the Connecticut shade tobacco growing in America.
Durbin and Cicilline have been trying to pass this legislation for quite some time. There have been similar bills introduced during every session of Congress since 2015. Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Jack Reed, D-R.I., are also co-sponsors.