When the knights of commerce now demand that Tiedemanns Tobaksfabrik clean up the mess, we fear that they are speaking on behalf of their customers, not on behalf of the children on the plantations.
Just a smidgen of interest in the prevalence of child labour in developing country agriculture, in the production of coffee, cotton, rubber, fruit and other goods, would have made the information less surprising to the industry. Tobacco is not the only good on shop shelves carrying the prints of little children's hands.
The eradication of child labour is an enormous task, which will not be solved overnight by a powerful Norwegian tobacco magnate. It is, among other things, a matter of money. The race for the lowest prices begins on the plantations. Would a Norwegian chain store dare to boast of having the highest prices, if it meant that workers could send their children to school?
Norwatch Newsletter 4/01