Children of Tobacco - Malawi's shocking plantation exploitation

Eighty thousand Malawian children are enslaved by a worldwide addiction. Despite serious health risks and missing out on an education, the exploitation continues without effective government or industry action. "Without the kids the tobacco would rot", says Josepha, whose son Shepherd works on her tobacco field. Enticed by promises of high incomes and fertiliser loans, peasants are being encouraged to switch from corn to tobacco. In an ironic twist, the little money made from growing tobacco is being spent on corn. Handling tobacco with bare hands equals to absorbing nicotine from fifty cigarettes a day. "People have no idea of what is going on", says doctor Chimbetete, warning of the risks of green tobacco disease. With tobacco representing 60% of Malawi's exports the authorities are turning a blind eye to the situation, and corporate responsibilities programmes are proving a sham. As one commentator states: "They finance these programs to clear their conscience".  By Wild Angle Productions

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