Indonesia tobacco plantations using child labour

Big cigarette companies accused of feigning ignorance while young children work in plantations in hazardous conditions.

by

    Some of the world's best known tobacco companies have been accused of turning a blind eye to the exploitation of child labour in Indonesian plantations that serve as their suppliers.

    The tobacco industry employs about six million Indonesians. The figure includes many children who face hazardous conditions while working on the fields.

    Researchers say tobacco companies insist that their cigarettes are legal products without appearing to check whether their suppliers are complying with the law.

    Human-rights groups have long noted the dangers of working in tobacco farms, especially for vulnerable youth children.

    Exposure to nicotine means the chemical can enter the worker's body through skin pores and cause adverse effects.

    'My body hurts'

    Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Indonesia's East Java province, discovered children as young as 10 working on tobacco plantations despite the country having 15 as the minimum age limit for the job.

    Ebing, a child labour worker in the province, told Al Jazeera: "I do feel tired sometimes and my body hurts. My hands are always black because I fold the leaves and turn them around to dry them."

    Prio Adi Nugroho, a researcher on child labour, said the tobacco firms never investigate operations at the plantations despite knowing that using child labour is common there.

    Researchers are also worried that these child workers could start smoking very early in life.

    According to the World Health Organization, 36.2 percent of Indonesian boys aged 13 to 15 smoke.

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.