Tobacco Slave

Imperial practices in the modern age

Tobacco farming yields so little return that the farmers call themselves

Farmers growing tobacco under the contract system can become entangled in a cycle of debt and poverty. This first-of-its-kind film shines a light on the plight of tobacco farmers in Malawi and lets them share, in their own words, what growing tobacco is really like. Historians and local experts also delve into the colonial history of the tobacco industry and explore how its business practices have (and have not) changed over the years.

“Tobacco Slave” was released by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, a partner in STOP

Child Labor in Tobacco Farming

In Malawi, a disturbing number of children are sent to cultivate tobacco. Because farmers can’t earn enough to employ workers, they pull their children from school to perform this grueling and dangerous work—often without the necessary gear to protect them from sharp tools and chemicals. Hear directly from Malawi’s farmers about the hazards their children face in the tobacco fields.

This is an excerpt and additional footage from “Tobacco Slave”