A new animated short titled The Human Cost of Conflict Palm Oil, released today by Rainforest Action Network, OPPUK — an Indonesian labor rights advocacy organization — and International Labor Rights Forum, tells the stories of three palm oil workers, exposing modern-day slavery, child labor and systemic labor abuses prevalent throughout the palm oil plantation industry.
The video follows the release of an investigative report detailing labor rights abuses documented on two plantations owned and operated by Indofood, a producer of PepsiCO-branded snack foods. PepsiCo purchases more than 450,000 tons of palm oil a year.
“The abuses highlighted in this video are all too common amongst the millions of workers in the palm oil industry,” said Herwin Nasution, Executive Director of OPPUK. “Brands that use palm oil in their products, like PepsiCo, have known about the pervasive and severe labor abuses rife in the industry and ignored them. But the dirty secret that cheap palm oil comes on the backs of exploited workers can no longer be hidden from the public.”
The Human Cost of Conflict Palm Oil is based on the real stories of three workers (under pseudonyms): Manik, who was trafficked into work on a Malaysian plantation, had his passport taken and was kept trapped in debt; Sutantri, a young mother who accepted part-time work around toxic chemicals to provide for her family; and Adi, a father who had to bring his wife and children to work on a plantation so he could make the daily quota and keep his job.
You can learn more about the impact on Indonesian workers in the industry in the RAN/OPPUK/ILRF report, The Human Cost of Conflict Palm OIl: indofood, PepsiCo’s Hidden Link to Worker Exploitation in Indonesia.