World Rainforest Movement

Malaysia: Human trafficking and workers’ abuse in palm oil plantations

Rec_Malasya_WorkersMalaysian palm oil industry, which produces 40 per cent of the world’s palm oil supply, is growing but, according to labourers and activists interviewed by a Wall Street Journal report, also surrounded with abuses. Migrant workers, especially from Bangladesh and Myanmar, are being brought in terrible conditions by human traffickers as labourers in certain palm oil plantations in Malaysia. Felda Global Ventures, which sells crude palm oil to multinationals such as Cargill Inc., Nestlé SA and Procter & Gamble Co, says that 85 per cent of workers in its plantations are foreigners. Even those with legal work permits complain that they earn less than Malaysian minimal wage and are treated poorly. The Arakan Project, a non-profit organization that studies migration through the Bay of Bengal, estimates that nearly 50,000 people have boarded boats for the perilous journey to Malaysia in the past two years, many dying on the way.

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