Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Action Alert, Trafficking

Firestone = child labour

National Day of Action on Liberia’s Independence Day Urges Tire Giant to
End Child Labor and Improve Conditions on Liberian Rubber Plantation

To mark Liberia’s Independence Day, Liberian-Americans and concerned consumers from 36 states are joining Friends of the Earth, International Labor Rights Fund, Institute for Policy Studies, TransAfrica Forum and other members of the Stop Firestone Coalition in telling Firestone that “80 years of exploitation is enough.”

“For 80 years the people and environment of Liberia have been abused,” said Emira Woods, a Liberian-American and co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. “It’s an outrage. Such an American icon must be a more responsible corporate citizen.”

“On the Firestone rubber plantation, instead of camp or school, children endure long summers of forced labor. Children wake up each day at 4:30 am to ‘help’ their parents tap rubber trees, spray pesticides, and haul heavy buckets of rubber up to two miles each day,” said Bama Athreya, director of the International Labor Rights Fund. “Children belong in school, not working the plantation.”

The Stop Firestone Coalition is additionally concerned that environmental damage caused by the use of harmful chemicals and the untreated run-off from Firestone’s operations into adjacent rivers is having health implications on communities around the plantation. “Kids on the plantation drink, bathe and swim in the Farmington River while watching the Firestone factory dump its waste on the opposite river banks,” said Elizabeth Bast, international policy analyst at Friends of the Earth. “Firestone’s tradition of exploitation has endured far too long.”


A detailed list of the coalition’s demands of Firestone is available at “Stop Firestone”
Friends of the Earth

International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF)

Institute for Policy Studies
TransAfrica Forum


  1. Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC is getting back on its feet after its the Firestone “voluntary” (product safety recall, they had no choice) tire recall in 2000. Firestone is promoting all its main tire brands aggressively through stepped-up advertising and PR events sadly Liberia is not included in their progrem. “Our company is committed to being a good corporate citizen nationally, regionally and especially in the communities where we have manufacturing plants, sales facilities or offices.”
    It is a huge job to build up a brand but quite simple to destroy it. I am confident Firestone will shoot its own feet off on this.

  2. Comment by post author


    I have written around firestone and other multinationals operating in Liberia but I intend to investigate it some more in the future. No doubt other tyre manufacturers are equally guilty of crimes but if one can expose one company and force them to change it will be easier to bring about change with other manufacturers. I believe FOE have been campaigning on this issue.

  3. Can you imagine people saying Africa is poor and we need aid? Even China is in on the act and some of our people think it is OK. Globalisation they call it. Here is my view of the future, the AU will get together and invite the WTO to a “$1,000T pollution & corruption levy” meeting.