Children risk health farming tobacco in Indonesia: HRW

JAKARTA: Children are being put to work on tobacco plantations in Indonesia that supply some of the world’s biggest cigarette companies, putting their health at serious risk, Human Rights Watch warned Wednesday.

Despite Indonesian law prohibiting child labour in hazardous industries, the rights group documented dozens of cases of minors — some as young as eight — falling ill from handling raw tobacco and mixing pesticides with their bare hands.

Much of the tobacco harvested from the roughly 500,000 plantations across Indonesia is for the domestic market, where smoking rates are among the world’s highest.

But one quarter of all Indonesian tobacco is exported and sold overseas by multinational cigarette giants, Human Rights Watch child advocacy director Jo Becker told AFP.