The United States on Friday suspended imports of all tobacco and tobacco products from Malawi for alleged forced labour practices, including child labour.
CNN says Customs and Border Protection, which holds the authority to detain imports, has recently ramped up its efforts to hold companies and suppliers accountable for forced labour practices.
The CNN says the agency issued a “withhold release order” on tobacco from Malawi on Friday, allowing it to detain goods believed to have been produced with forced labour.
“Malawi tobacco is one of the areas where we are trying to send a message,” CBP office of trade executive assistant commissioner Brenda Smith told the CNN.
The report says forced labour in Malawi has been well documented, saying despite some advancement in prevailing child labour, children in Malawi are still engaged in the worst forms of child labour, including in the harvesting of tobacco and in commercial sexual exploitation, according to the US department of Labour.
Government spokesperson Mark Botomani asked for more time before giving his comment on the matter but this comes at a time when some lawyers have taken British American Tobacco company in the British courts for child labour.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :