TakeAPart: British American Tobacco in Malawi
Alleged Violations of Tobacco Control and Other Laws
Tobacco companies aggressively block, weaken, and undermine policies designed to protect public health and reduce tobacco use, and at times they may work outside of countries’ laws.
Call for a government investigation into child labor in Malawi’s tobacco fields that supply for British American Tobacco today!
How Tobacco companies violate laws
Tobacco companies aggressively block, weaken, and undermine policies designed to protect public health and reduce tobacco use, and at times they may work outside of countries’ laws. In multiple cases tobacco companies have been found guilty of violating laws to ensure they are as profitable as possible.
In Malawi, children age 14 and younger are working in tobacco fields that source tobacco for British American Tobacco. Research conducted revealed that 57% of all children in two tobacco producing districts were involved in child labor. Among tobacco growing families, 63% of children were involved in child labor.
Represented by Leigh Day, workers filed a lawsuit in the UK in December 2020: “A claim against British American Tobacco (BAT), Imperial Brands, their parent companies and subsidiaries, has been filed in the High Court in London, by several thousand impoverished tenant tobacco farmers, their wives, children and other family members, all working on small tobacco farms in Malawi. They allege that the tobacco companies are liable in negligence and have been unjustly enriched. It is claimed that the companies’ actions, for the sake of maximising profits, has resulted over many years in the systemic exploitation of poor and illiterate workers, trafficked from the south of Malawi to tobacco farms in the central and northern regions.”
Leaf buying firms and big tobacco companies say they tell contract farmers not to use children and that stopping child labor is a priority. Despite what big tobacco companies say they are doing to remove child labor from their supply chain, experts say the very low prices paid to farmers in countries make child labor inevitable.
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