Largest palm oil producer in the world caught in forced labor | Abroad | News


AP A worker on an oil palm plantation in Malaysia.

A report from the US Customs Agency shows that Malaysian palm oil company FGV Holdings, the largest producer of crude palm oil in the world, uses forced labor. The United States has therefore banned all imports of FGV palm oil. Palm oil is used in a variety of foods, cosmetics, cleaning products and biodiesel.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the two largest palm oil producers. The industry is quite controversial and is said to be responsible for deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats of orangutans, among others. Human rights organizations have also long accused FGV and some other suppliers of violations of labor rights and human rights.

The US import ban comes after human rights organizations urged US authorities to investigate possible forced labor and human trafficking on FGV plantations. About 84 percent of plantation workers in Malaysia, a total of about 337,000 people, are migrants from countries such as Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.

Physical and sexual violence

According to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the US customs agency, the US import ban is the result of an investigation that lasted a year and revealed that workers at FGV are being misled and victims of physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats. Their identity documents are taken and the company takes advantage of their vulnerability. The research also found that children may be involved in FGV’s production processes.

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