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