Panel Investigates Child Labor in the Chocolate Industry

Wednesday, February 09, 2011 //
Contact: Brandi Palmer
727-562-7381
palmer@law.stetson.edu

 

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Americans eat more than 50 million pounds of chocolate to celebrate. But according to the U.S. Department of State, more than 100,000 children are enslaved working in the cocoa industry. On Feb. 8, a group of students, faculty and experts gathered at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport to discuss the issue of child labor in the international cocoa industry.

Stetson Law student Amber Knight, an intern at the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, introduced the program, which included a screening of the documentary film, “The Dark Side of Chocolate,” by U. Roberto “Robin” Romano and award-winning Danish journalist Miki Mistrati.

International human rights expert Professor Luz Nagle moderated a panel that discussed the importance of consumer awareness, corporate responsibility and tougher labor laws to combat child slavery and exploitation. The panel included consumer advocate Carol Botbyl, Stetson Law Professor Clark Furlow, Distinguished Professorial Lecturer Justice Andrew G.T. Moore II, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking representative Giselle Rodriguez, and nationally renowned labor lawyer Peter Robb.

Filmmaker Robin Romano joined the program via Skype. “Cocoa is to the Ivory Coast as the Ivory Coast is to cocoa,” Romano said following the screening of his film. He later shared that the Ivory Coast is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty advocating for children’s rights.

Rodriguez said she was saddened to know that children are forced to labor in the cocoa industry without access to adequate food, medical care, or even school.

Justice Moore said that he found not knowing even more disturbing.

In 2001, there was a force to implement legislation to give some teeth to the movement to stop child labor, Nagle said. Now a decade later, the issue remains. “Who will hold corporations accountable for enforcing the rights of the child?” Professor Nagle asked the panel.

The panel concluded with many questions. “Could we make it good business not to buy cocoa beans from companies using child labor?” Robb asked.

On one point, Professor Nagle was certain. “We all need to be involved,” she said.

###

Wednesday, February 09, 2011 //
Contact: Brandi Palmer
727-562-7381
palmer@law.stetson.edu

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Americans eat more than 50 million pounds of chocolate to celebrate. But according to the U.S. Department of State, more than 100,000 children are enslaved working in the cocoa industry. On Feb. 8, a group of students, faculty and experts gathered at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport to discuss the issue of child labor in the international cocoa industry.

Stetson Law student Amber Knight, an intern at the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, introduced the program, which included a screening of the documentary film, “The Dark Side of Chocolate,” by U. Roberto “Robin” Romano and award-winning Danish journalist Miki Mistrati.

International human rights expert Professor Luz Nagle moderated a panel that discussed the importance of consumer awareness, corporate responsibility and tougher labor laws to combat child slavery and exploitation. The panel included consumer advocate Carol Botbyl, Stetson Law Professor Clark Furlow, Distinguished Professorial Lecturer Justice Andrew G.T. Moore II, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking representative Giselle Rodriguez, and nationally renowned labor lawyer Peter Robb.

Filmmaker Robin Romano joined the program via Skype. “Cocoa is to the Ivory Coast as the Ivory Coast is to cocoa,” Romano said following the screening of his film. He later shared that the Ivory Coast is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty advocating for children’s rights.

Rodriguez said she was saddened to know that children are forced to labor in the cocoa industry without access to adequate food, medical care, or even school.

Justice Moore said that he found not knowing even more disturbing.

In 2001, there was a force to implement legislation to give some teeth to the movement to stop child labor, Nagle said. Now a decade later, the issue remains. “Who will hold corporations accountable for enforcing the rights of the child?” Professor Nagle asked the panel.

The panel concluded with many questions. “Could we make it good business not to buy cocoa beans from companies using child labor?” Robb asked.

On one point, Professor Nagle was certain. “We all need to be involved,” she said.

###
Stetson University College of Law is Florida’s first law school. It has educated lawyers for more than a century. The law school is located in the Gulfport/St. Petersburg area with a satellite campus in downtown Tampa. Stetson University’s historic campus, founded in 1883 in DeLand, is home to the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Music, and has a satellite center in Celebration offering advanced degrees.

.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s