The US Department of Labor lists palm oil from Indonesia as being produced by child labor and palm oil coming from Malaysia as being produced by child and forced labor.

laboring child

Asia and Asia Pacific are responsible for 41% of the global estimate of child labor with the majority of child laborers (38%) being made up of 5 to 11 year olds.
(Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, 2016)

In the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, the US Department of State claimed migrant workers working in Malaysia on agricultural and palm oil plantations are subjected to labor practices indicative of forced labor, such as restrictions on movement, withholding of wages, contract substitution, confiscation of passports and debt bondage.

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Labor Abuses

Source: Wall Street Journal 2016

Children as young as eight are doing hard labour which can cause physical damage. A 10-year-old boy told us he works six days a week. “I don’t go to school…I carry the sack with the loose fruit by myself but can only carry it half full…I do it in the rain as well but it is difficult…My hands hurt and my body aches. (Amnesty International)

Laboring on a palm plantation is not the same as having a summer paper route. These children are subjected to heavy labor, repetitive motions and exposure to pesticides. The typical pesticide used (paraquat) has been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Since children are not technically employed by the plantations, they are not given personal protective equipment. Children of migrant workers are also unable to participate in free national health care or attend school.