Malawi tobacco pressured as US butts in over labour abuses

Malawi's minister of agriculture Kondwani Nankhumwa says all efforts are being taken to ensure the nation eradicates all forms of child labour, admitting the issue exists in some areas where tobacco is grown. Malawi is being forced to confront child and forced labour practices after the US restricted tobacco imports from the impoverished southeastern African nation over allegations workers including children were being exploited.

The trouble began in late October. British law firm Leigh Day announced it was preparing a landmark class action case against British American Tobacco (BAT) on behalf of 2,000 Malawian farmers, including hundreds of children, for forced labour and poverty wages.

The US suspended imports of tobacco from Malawi, saying it had information that reasonably indicated it was being produced using forced labour and forced child labour.