Poor Conditions for Kenyan Tea Pickers

I just read this report from Plus News Global about the risk of HIV with tea pickers in Kenya. As our enjoyment of tea and its pleasures also includes an accountability, check out this informative article :

KENYA: Tough working conditions and risky sex on tea plantations

KERICHO, 3 March 2009 (PlusNews) – Underpaid and living in poor conditions far from home, tea pickers in Kenya’s vast plantations are trying to boost their income by selling sex.

“Tea pickers are paid very little and the working conditions in the farm can hardly be friendly; can you imagine waking up to face the cold weather and morning rain to pick tea without any protection?” asked Peter Obiero, an official at the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union.

“The houses they live in are also very tiny and can hardly contain a family with children; this forces most of them to leave their families in the rural areas. This kind of loneliness provides a perfect chance for dangerous sex activities.”

Tea accounts for about 20 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product and is one of its main exports, but tea pickers are paid an average of six Kenya shillings per kg of picked leaves; most say it is difficult to pick more than 50kg per day. A majority of tea pickers are employed on a casual basis, making it harder for them to negotiate better pay and working conditions.  …read more

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