Jum’s words tumble out over the phone, his voice growing ever more frantic.
Between sobs, he says he’s trapped on a Malaysian plantation run by government owned Felda, one of the world’s largest palm oil companies. His boss confiscated and then lost his Indonesian passport, he says, leaving him vulnerable to arrest. Night after night, he has been forced to hide from authorities, sleeping on the jungle floor, exposed to the wind and the rain. His biggest fear: the roaming tigers.
All the while, Jum says his supervisor demanded he keep working, tending the heavy reddish-orange palm oil fruit that has made its way into the supply chains of the planet’s most iconic food and cosmetics companies like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestle and Procter & Gamble.
“I am not a free man anymore,” he says, his voice cracking. “I desperately want to see my mom and dad. I want to go home!”