Palm oil labor abuses linked to world’s top brands, banks

PENINSULAR MALAYSIA (AP) — An Associated Press investigation into the invisible workforce of millions of laborers toiling in the palm oil industry in Malaysia and Indonesia found many of them suffering from various forms of exploitation — the most serious including child labor, outright slavery and allegations of rape. The workers from some of the poorest corners of Asia tend the heavy reddish-orange palm oil fruit that makes its way into the supply chains of many iconic food and cosmetics companies like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestle and Procter & Gamble. Together, the two countries produce about 85 percent of the world’s estimated $65 billion palm oil supply.