Slavery has existed in the cocoa industry for centuries. In our time slavery in the cocoa industry predominantly impacts on children who are trafficked and treated as disposable commodities. In 2001 cocoa buyers and chocolate manufacturers, via the Harkin Engel Protocol, made a commitment to end the worst forms of child slavery by 2005. Now, 20 years later, child slavery is still a reality in the cocoa industry. In additional earlier this year a lawsuit against Nestle and Cargill over allegations they knowingly allowed child slavery in their supply chain was dismissed.
The International Cocoa Initiative reports cocoa farmers earn less that $2 a day leading them to rely on cheap child labour. It is estimated 1.6 million children work in the cocoa industry, which is largely centered in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. For a product associated with luxury and indulgence such as chocolate, the exploitation and abuse of children in its production is particularly disturbing.
You are invited to take part in the Freedom United campaign which calls on the worlds top 10 chocolate companies to take concrete steps to address the gaps in protection and the underlying drivers of child slavery and child labor in the cocoa sector. To join the campaign click here.