Climate Change and Human Trafficking in Indonesia

Project supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Palm oil production is one of Indonesia’s biggest industries, supplying almost half of the world and driving massive deforestation on the archipelago. In addition, Indonesia’s large population, agricultural land use practices, deforestation, and coal consumption make it a high greenhouse gas emitter.

To make way for commercial logging interests, Indonesia’s indigenous people were forced 50 years ago to migrate into the country’s peat lands. Frequent heat waves and unpredictable weather makes peat lands prone to wildfires, threatening their indigenous inhabitants. With few government protections, indigenous groups have nowhere else to go and are vulnerable to lung disease caused by exposure to heavy smog produced by the palm mills, while indigenous women desperate to leave are often preyed upon by human traffickers.

In this project, Xyza Cruz Bacani reports on the environmental and social challenges facing indigenous people working on Indonesia’s palm plantations. 

A Dirty Business

Indonesia’s climate refugees are being forced into deadly labor abroad

The impact of the palm oil industry on Indonesian farmers and the environment

No man’s land

Risky Crossing