by Tim Newman · October 01, 2010
Tasked with providing Congress with an annual, impartial assessment of chocolate industry efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor from the cocoa industry, the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University released its fourth annual report. The report is currently the best place to learn about ongoing abuses on cocoa farms and to find an an impartial assessment of the efforts companies have made to improve conditions. The new report provides upsetting evidence that little progress has been made and backs up the arguments frequently made by advocates.
The new 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 most of them moved to Cote d’Ivoire without their natural parents or guardians. Virtually all respondents in the survey of migrant workers experienced the worst forms of child labor including: verbal, physical and sexual harassment; restrictions of their freedom of movement; performing hazardous work, including land clearing and burning; carrying heavy loads; spraying pesticides; and using machetes, among other dangerous activities. At the same time, border police and guards in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana receive almost no training in dealing with child trafficking and are unaware of policies and intervention strategies related to dealing with child trafficking. Unsurprisingly, only a miniscule percentage of respondents who had experienced trafficking and the worst forms of child labor benefited from any sort of intervention or assistance. >> View Full Story