Child slaves work on cocoa plantations

 

According to a path-breaking report by CNN, an estimated 100,000 children are toiling in cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast and other cocoa-producing countries – all in a bid to create chocolate products.

According to the International Labor Rights forum, many children working on cocoa farms are smuggled into Ivory Coast from Mali and Burkina¬†Faso. The Cocoa Protocol – officially known as the Harkin-Engel Protocol – was signed in the year 2001. It calls for establishing an audit system to effectively monitor the entire process of cocoa production . Not surprisingly, some of the provisions of the protocol still haven’t been met.

A researcher from Tulane University, Chris Bayer, has spent half a decade in the Ivory Coast monitoring the Cocoa Protocol’s provisions . “Unfortunately, over the last 10 years we have seen very little implementation of the actual commitments,” Mr Bayer says. “Industry did not live up to the Harkin-Engel protocol. The issues are systemic. Children are still working.”

The giant chocolate industry rests on enforced child labor
The giant chocolate industry rests on enforced child labor. Photo courtesy: Google Images

CNN International will run a comprehensive programme on the issue: ‘Chocolate’s Child Slaves’, on the 20th of January.