Soaring global demand for hand sanitizer to combat the new coronavirus could increase the use of forced and child labor in sugarcane plantations, U.K.-based researchers said Thursday.
Sugarcane is used to make ethanol for alcohol-based gels and seven of the world’s largest sugarcane producers – including Brazil, Mexico, and Thailand – have a high to extreme risk of child and forced labor, said analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft.
“A lot of structural challenges that producing countries . . . already had are now being laid bare by the pandemic,” said Jimena Blanco, head of its Americas team.
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