Tell the World Health Organization to Call Action to Labor Rights Abuses in Tobacco

by Mitch Ellmauer, Intern, International Labor Rights Forum

Tobacco executives aren’t known for being the most ethical businessmen. They sell millions of cancer- 114 causing products every day, they market cigarettes to children, and they lie about the tobacco’s negative health effects. Considering how bad Big Tobacco treats its customers, it should come as no surprise that tobacco companies subject their workers and farmers to extremely exploitative labor practices, including: child labor, forced labor, debt bondage, human trafficking, and wage theft.

Like it or not, tobacco is one of the most profitable industries in the world. Over 100 million workers are employed in the industry, and tobacco is a major cash crop in 100 countries. The poorest of these countries have become dependent on tobacco exports and the victims of tobacco companies’ unfair trade policies.

Malawi, one of the world’s least developed countries, depends on tobacco for 70% of its yearly export revenues. Rampant poverty, widespread unemployment, and deep inequities in land distribution have driven down wages and working conditions for the county’s tobacco farmers and farmworkers. Malawi has the highest incidence of child labor in southern Africa; 66% of working children are employed on tobacco farms.

The Sweet Delicious Taste of, Child Labor?

Allison Richina, Intern, International Labor Rights Forum Source:

International Labor Rights Forum

Imagine that favorite piece of chocolate entering your mouth as you bite into its rich flavor. The very thought of chocolate brings pleasure and excitement to our taste buds. Where do you get your chocolate from? Maybe a drug store, grocery store, or a chocolate store? Have you thought about where those stores and brands get their chocolate?

The shocking truth is that an estimate of 109,000 children are working in abusive conditions with as many as 10,000 suffering as victims of human trafficking or enslavement (according to the U.S. Department of State), and these may be conservative estimates. In 2005, the International Labor Organization estimated that as many as 200,000 children work in West Africa cocoa farms.

Volunteers Wanted for Artisan Summer Camp in Italy

In July Koperattiva Kummerċ Ġust is participating in a summer camp project organized by the municipality of Caulonia, which is situated in the Reggio Calabria region of Italy. The summer camp will involve Maltese and Italian volunteers who will be working with African immigrants that have settled in the municipality of Caulonia.

The activities will take place between the July 25th and August 9th. During these two weeks, participants will be actively involved in various activities aimed at promoting artistic and cultural awareness, especially those of the participants involved.

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