Please buy Fair Trade Chocolate this year for Halloween! Help support those companies that do not exploit young children in the Cocoa fields. Please boycott all Hershey’s products, as they have not made any changes and continue to exploit children in the Ivory Coast!
remember that all forms of child exploitation needs to be stopped!!
By George Okore:
A new report accuses cocoa industry of failing to address abusive Child Labour and Human Trafficking and wants strict action to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in West Africa.
Titled Bitter Chocolate, the report released by Payson Center for International Development at Tulane Universities, it decries lack of progress by cocoa industry to address the problems of child and forced labor in Ivory Cost and Ghana.
The report identifies the ongoing exploitation of labor rights in the cocoa sector including the worst forms of child labor, forced labor and trafficking. New research related to the trafficking of young workers from Burkina Faso and Mali found that Cote d’Ivoire is the predominant destination for trafficked and migrant cocoa workers;
The overwhelming majority of respondents moved to cocoa farms without their natural parents or guardians and experienced verbal, physical and sexual harassment and restrictions of their freedom of movement. They also performed hazardous work including land clearing and burning, carrying heavy loads, spraying pesticides, and using machetes, among other dangerous activities.
In response to the report, Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA called on Hershey, the largest US chocolate company, to take action to end child and forced labor in its supply chain and to adopt Fair Trade certified cocoa. “It is clear from this report that the cocoa industry is not doing enough to address these problems. The world’s largest chocolate manufacturers must do more to monitor their supply chains to combat child labor, forced labor and human trafficking”.
The report recommends that companies institute traceability systems for their cocoa supply chains starting at or near the farm level and work with product certification schemes, which no longer represent a niche market. All of the certification programs operating in the West African cocoa sector should be reviewed to ensure that they appropriately identify and address child labor issues. The report identifies major industry actors that have made commitments in this area, including Mars, Kraft, Nestle and Cargill while Hershey stands out as the only major chocolate company missing from the list.
The report also found that Hershey lacked transparency and traceability when it came to its cocoa sourcing, as well as meaningful programs to address labor violations in the cocoa-growing communities of West Africa, from where it sources. As the dominant chocolate company in the US, the report calls on Hershey to “Raise the Bar” and adopt Fair Trade Certification for its best selling bar by 2012, and all of its top selling chocolate products by 2022.”