Colombians blast flower trade

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Date of publication: February 10, 2009

Source: Toronto Star

Author: Linda Diebel

 

Flowers from Colombia are grown in blood, according to a small delegation from that country asking Canadians to think twice about the origin of flowers they buy for Valentine's Day.

It's the blood of women and children as young as 10, who work in slave labour conditions in sprawling greenhouses around the capital. They arrive from all over the country to package beauty, working long hours for little pay, no guaranteed labour rights and health problems that include infertility, lung disorders, joint issues and cancer.

"It is essentially slave labour," Yolanda Becerra Vega, director of the Popular Women's Organization, said yesterday. The Amnesty International-sponsored delegation is here to plead with Canadian parliamentarians to reject the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, signed last November and expected to be introduced in the House soon...

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