Child Slaves vs Cocoa Companies
A federal class action lawsuit has been filed in the US Federal Court on behalf of eight Malian young men who were trafficked as children and forced to harvest cocoa in Cote D’Ivoire. The Defendant companies are Nestle, Cargill, Mars, Mondel?z, Hershey, Barry Callebaut and Olam. These companies had signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol in 2005 promising they would eliminate the use of child labour by 2005. This commitment has been extended a number of times and eventually weakened to say they will reduce their reliance on child labour by 70% by 2025.
A study by NORC at the University of Chicago towards the end of 2020 reported there were 1.56 million child labourers in the cocoa fields of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in the 2018/19 growing season which was an increase of 14% since a similar study in 2015. Read more…
2021 is the International Year for the Elimination of child Labour. As consumers we can send a message that we do not want to purchase chocolate tainted by child labour. By only purchasing chocolate carrying the following certification labels it is less likely the cocoa was harvested using child labour. For information about the ACRATH Slavery-free Easter campaign click here.