International rights body, Human Rights Watch has released a report which highlights the labour abuses and health hazards that are faced by tobacco workers, particularly children. The report which is titled “A Bitter Harvest: Child Labor and Human Rights Abuses on Tobacco Farms in Zimbabwe, was released on Thursday, and part of it reads:
However, Human Rights Watch research in 2016 and 2017 into conditions on tobacco farms in Zimbabwe revealed an industry tainted by child labour and confronted by other serious human rights problems as well. Zimbabwean authorities and tobacco companies should take urgent steps to address child labour and other human rights abuses that may be undermining the sector’s contributions to economic growth and improved livelihoods.
Many children under 18 work in hazardous conditions on tobacco farms in Zimbabwe, often performing tasks that threaten their health and safety or interfere with their education. Adults involved in tobacco production—both small-scale farmers and hired workers—face serious health and safety risks, but the government and tobacco companies are failing to ensure that workers have sufficient information, training, and equipment to protect themselves. Hired workers on some large-scale tobacco farms said they were pushed to work excessive hours without overtime compensation, denied their wages, and forced to go weeks or months without pay.
Human Rights Watch calls on all companies and the government of Zimbabwe, to prohibit children from any work involving contact with tobacco, as a policy that is both maximally protective and the most straightforward for companies to communicate, implement, and monitor throughout the supply chain.
More: Read Full Report Here