“My daughter is not here, my husband is not here. I have only my pain: I live with my pain only.” – Susena1
Susena’s daughter Laxmi was 12 years old when she disappeared, lured by a trafficker promising a better life. Devastated, Susena’s husband left their home in a desperate attempt to recover their missing daughter, joining many others in the search for missing loved ones.
This is just one of the many stories of a unique situation of poverty that leaves generations of families on tea estates in Assam, India vulnerable to trafficking and modern slavery. These stories have most recently been reported across estates owned by Amalgamated Plantations (APPL) – a company whose biggest shareholder is Tata Global Beverages (Tata), parent company of Tetley tea.2
Here’s the good news – Tata has responded to over 95,000 messages from Freedom United activists3 calling on them to play a leading role in ending modern slavery in the region. Tata has been in touch to update us on the steps they are taking to improve the living and working conditions on these tea estates following the completion of a recent audit.4 Unfortunately the company hasn’t gone far enough.
We want to see Tata Global Beverages, as a major shareholder of APPL, show leadership in preventing people being trafficked out of the tea plantations. This means:
- Being transparent about the steps the company is taking in this area.
- Producing a detailed action plan with clear deadlines and financial investment towards specific commitments to reduce workers’ vulnerability to modern slavery.
- Leading other industry players in a joint effort to tackle the root causes of the problem.
Tata has a significant role to play and must take their share of the responsibility in tackling this crime – with your support, we can make sure they do.
Take action now: Call on Tata to take responsibility and ensure transparency in addressing human trafficking in the tea plantations of Assam, India.
Note: We want to be really clear — we are not accusing Tata Global Beverages of trafficking girls from Assam to be held in situations of modern slavery. We are, however, concerned that Tata Global Beverages is engaged in a labor scheme via Amalgamated Plantations in Assam that is fuelling unique forms of vulnerability to modern slavery. Of all the possible players, Tata Global Beverages has the power to do the most good in this situation and that is why we are calling on them to engage.
- http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/mar/02/tea-workers-sold-into-slavery ↩
- http://www.stopthetraffik.org/download.php?type=resource&id=833 ↩
- https://www.walkfree.org/tata-help-prevent-trafficking-girls-working-tea-plantations/ ↩
- 5http://www.tataglobalbeverages.com/sustainability/sustainable-sourcing/appl ↩