On the occasion of the World Day for Decent Work, we are showing two short films by our partner organisation UBINIG about the catastrophic working conditions of women and children on the tobacco plantations of Bangladesh.
Far too often people – children, women and men – work under exploitative conditions. Above all, the miserable working conditions of workers in the Global South are part of the economic growth strategy of many companies. At the beginning of the supply chain, the tobacco industry tries to make the maximum profit at the expense of those people who work in tobacco cultivation. German tobacco companies are also responsible for this, since Germany is the fifth largest importer of raw tobacco from Bangladesh with a volume of 7.21 million US dollars.
Decent working conditions are listed as a human right in the UN Human Rights Charter, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) designates decent work as a prerequisite for fair globalisation and overcoming poverty. Sustainable development goal 8 calls for decent work for all.
But we are far from achieving this. Labour rights are systematically violated in the Global South and working conditions are sometimes catastrophic. Looking at Bangladesh it becomes clear: people are labouring on tobacco fields for such low wages, hardly enough to live on.
Our partner UBINIG from Bangladesh has conducted research on tobacco fields in the country and found that human rights are massively violated when tobacco is grown there. Far too often children have to help with the work in the fields and their education is neglected. In this film, UBINIG and Unfairtobacco show the high price children have to pay.
COST OF TOBACCO FARMING – DEPRIVING CHILDREN FROM EDUCATION
In addition, women’s rights are also massively disregarded and violated. Women usually work without protective clothing and are therefore exposed to serious health risks from handling pesticides and from the contact with the nicotine in tobacco leaves. This is a particular burden on pregnant women who, due to poverty, continue to work during pregnancy in order to survive. Watch this film to see and hear what this means to women.
TOBACCO FARMING – DISEMPOWERING WOMEN
In order to combat child labour and women’s rights violations, we call for the introduction of a due diligence law in Germany to hold the tobacco industry accountable.
We should stop growing tobacco and instead grow food. Then we would have food at home.