Human rights alert: Coca-Cola suppliers buy materials from El Salvador companies that practice child labor

In terms of human rights and ecology, the Coca-Cola Company seemingly keeps digging itself into a PR hole. The company just can't seem to anger activists enough. It's been accused of privatizing and monopolizing Africa's natural water supply, sucking up India's vital groundwater sources (thereby harming the country's agricultural industry and food supply and polluting its remaining water and soil) and even indirectly condoning Salvadoran child labor that violates local and international laws.

In June 2004, Human Rights Watch published a 143-page report entitled Turning a Blind Eye: Hazardous Child Labor in El Salvador's Sugarcane Cultivation, revealing Coca-Cola's use of sugarcane harvested by children as young as eight years old. Though national and international child labor authorities -- including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Protocol of San Salvador, the Minimum Age Convention and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention -- prohibit minors under the age of 18 from doing hazardous or harmful work, plantation owners circumvent these laws by classifying young children and teenagers who work with parents or older siblings as "helpers" rather than the employees they actually are.


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