Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry (2022)

Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry (1)

Chocolate is a product of the cacao bean, which grows primarily in the tropical climates of Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America.[1] The cacao bean is more commonly referred to as cocoa, so that is the term that will be used throughout this article. Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast, supply about 70% of the world’s cocoa.[2] The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to a majority of chocolate companies, including the largest in the world.[3, 4]

In the past few decades, a handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery, on cocoa farms in Western Africa.[5, 6, 7, 4, 8] Child labor has been found on cocoa farms in Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, although since most of Western Africa’s cocoa is grown in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the majority of child labor cases have been documented in those two countries.[9, 10, 2]

In recent years, evidence has also surfaced of both child labor and slavery on cocoa farms in Brazil.[11] Cocoa workers there face many of the same abuses as those on the cocoa farms of Western Africa.

Aside from cocoa production in Western Africa and Brazil, a significant amount of cocoa is also grown in other parts of Latin America. While it remains possible that some cocoa farms in these places may employ child labor or slavery, at this time, neither practice has been documented as prevalent on cocoa farms outside of Western Africa and Brazil.[9]

Over the years, the chocolate industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to not only access farms where human rights violations still occur, but to then disseminate this information to the public. In 2004, the Ivorian First Lady’s entourage allegedly kidnapped and killed a journalist reporting on government corruption in its profitable cocoa industry.[12] In 2010, Ivorian government authorities detained three newspaper journalists after they published an article exposing government corruption in the cocoa sector.[13]

The farms of Western Africa and Brazil supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé as well as many small chocolate companies—revealing the industry’s direct connection to the worst forms of child labor, human trafficking, and slavery.[8, 14]

The Worst Forms of Child Labor in Western Africa

Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry (2)

In Western Africa, cocoa is a commodity crop grown primarily for export; cocoa is the Ivory Coast’s primary export and makes up about half of the country’s agricultural exports in volume.[15] Cocoa was originally brought to Western Africa by European chocolate companies seeking to grow it where labor was cheap or free, and that colonial legacy exists in the chocolate industry today.[16] As the chocolate industry has grown over the years, so has the demand for cheap cocoa. Most cocoa farmers earn less than $1 per day, an income below the extreme poverty line.[17, 18] As a result, they often resort to the use of child labor to keep their prices competitive.[19] In many cases, this includes what the International Labour Organization (ILO) calls “the worst forms of child labor.” These are defined as practices “likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children.”[20] Approximately 2.1 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana work on cocoa farms, most of whom are likely exposed to the worst forms of child labor.[21, 22]

The children of Western Africa are surrounded by intense poverty, and many begin working at a young age to help support their families.[23, 24, 14] Some children end up on the cocoa farms because they need work and traffickers tell them that the job pays well.[8] Other children are sold to traffickers or farm owners by their own relatives, who are unaware of the dangerous work environment and the lack of any provisions for an education.[25, 4] Often, traffickers abduct the young children from small villages in neighboring African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Mali, two of the poorest countries in the world.[26, 27] In one village in Burkina Faso, almost every mother in the village has had a child trafficked onto cocoa farms.[6] Traffickers will then sell children to cocoa farmers.

Journalists who went undercover as cocoa farmers documented traffickers in Ghana selling children to them for $34 a child.[14] These children were liberated, and social workers reunited them with their families.[14]

Once they have been taken to the cocoa farms, the children may not see their families for years, if ever.[14] If a child who has been trafficked wants to go home, they will likely not be allowed because the trafficker has sold them to work on the cocoa farms for a certain number of years.[14]

Most of the children laboring on cocoa farms are between the ages of 12 and 16, but reporters have found children as young as 5.[28, 29] In addition, 40% of these children are girls, and some end up working on the cocoa farms through adulthood.[29, 4]

Child laborers on cocoa farms work long hours, with some being forced to work up to 14 hours a day.[30] Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests.[29] Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete. These large, heavy, dangerous knives are the standard tools for children on the cocoa farms, which violates international labor laws and a UN convention on eliminating the worst forms of child labor.[20, 31, 8] Once they cut the bean pods from the trees, the children pack the pods into sacks that weigh more than 100 pounds when full and carry them through the forest.[8] Aly Diabate, a former enslaved cocoa worker, said, “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”[28]

Holding a single large pod in one hand, each child has to strike the pod with a machete and pry it open with the tip of the blade to expose the cocoa beans.[14] Every strike of the machete has the potential to slice a child’s flesh. Many children have scars on their bodies from their work in on the cocoa farms.[29, 32]

In addition to the hazards of using machetes, children are also exposed to agricultural chemicals on cocoa farms in Western Africa.[4] Tropical regions such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast consistently choose to deal with prolific insect populations by spraying the pods with large amounts of industrial chemicals. Young children spray the pods with these toxins without wearing protective clothing.[4] There has been a huge increase in the past decade of the number of children exposed to agricultural chemicals on Ghana and the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms, from 15% of children to approximately 50% of children.[33]*

The farm owners using child labor usually provide the children with the cheapest food available, such as corn paste or the cassava and bananas that grow in the surrounding forest.[34, 4] In some cases, the children sleep on wooden planks in small windowless buildings with no access to clean water or sanitary bathrooms.[34, 8]

Around 30% of children laboring on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast do not attend school, which violates the ILO’s Child Labour Standards.[29, 35] Depriving these children of an education has many short-term and long-term effects. Without an education, the children of the cocoa farms have little hope of ever breaking the cycle of poverty.

Aboudnamune, a 13-year-old child who has been working on cocoa farms since he was 11, described his experience: “We are hungry, and we just make a small amount of money.”[8]

In 2015 the Ivory Coast passed laws requiring children attend school until age 16 and making it illegal for children under 16 to work, but this has had little impact on children trafficked onto cocoa farms.[36] In an investigation by The Washington Post, a cocoa laborer named Abou Traore first told a reporter that he was 19 years old, but when the farmer overseeing him wasn’t looking, Abou revealed that he was actually 15.[8]

Abou, who is from Burkina Faso, started working on the cocoa farms when he was 10 years old. “I came here to go to school,” Abou said. “I haven’t been to school for five years now.”[8]

Some children labor on their parents’ farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Cocoa farmers who want to send their children to school are often unable to afford to. Mr. Zongo, a farmer who has been working in cocoa for 30 years, could only afford to send one of his children to school.[4]

“We are exhausted and we don’t have enough money,” Mr. Zongo said.[4]

Parents like Mr. Zongo are forced to include their children in the farm labor instead of sending them to school because they are not paid enough for the cocoa they sell. This is not because chocolate is unprofitable; the chocolate industry makes about $103 billion a year in sales.[37] It is through the industry’s exploitation of cocoa farmers that these corporations are able to make such a profit. As a result, chocolate companies have little incentive to change the conditions of cocoa farmers and thereby reduce child labor.

Slavery in Western Africa

Many children trafficked into Western African cocoa farms are coerced to work without pay.[3, 7, 14] Abby Mills, campaigns director of the International Labor Rights Forum, reported, “Every research study ever conducted in shows that there is human trafficking going on, particularly in the Ivory Coast.”[38] A journalist who visited cocoa farms in Ghana during the making of the documentary Invisible Hands said that they found incidents of trafficked children on all of the farms they visited.[14]

Both children and adults are enslaved on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana.[39] A study found that in Ghana, 23% of surveyed cocoa laborers reported having performed work without compensation.[40] While the term “slavery” has a variety of historical contexts, slavery in the cocoa industry involves the same core human rights violations as other forms of slavery throughout the world.

In the documentary Chocolate’s Heart of Darkness, journalists interviewed a cocoa laborer named Aziz who worked for five years without payment, starting when he was 15 years old. Another laborer on the same farm named Ali worked for six years without being paid. After years of working for free, Ali and Aziz were given small cocoa parcels as “rewards,” which they could sell for very little. Ali, for example, made only about $250 in one year from selling his share of cocoa.[4]

Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry (5)

Cases of slavery in the cocoa industry often involve acts of physical violence, such as being whipped for working slowly or trying to escape. Reporters have also documented cases where children were locked in at night to prevent them from escaping.[34] Former enslaved cocoa worker Aly Diabate told reporters, “The beatings were a part of my life. Anytime they loaded you with bags and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead, they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”[28] Drissa, a freed enslaved worker who had never even tasted chocolate, experienced similar circumstances. When asked what he would tell people who eat chocolate made from slave labor, he replied that they enjoyed something that he suffered to make, adding, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”[41]

In the Supreme Court case Nestlé USA and Cargill v. Doe, six people from Mali sought damages from Nestlé and Cargill for being trafficked into the Ivory Coast as children and forced to work on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast.[42] The formerly enslaved plaintiffs described how guards would punish child workers who attempted to flee with atrocities such as forcing them to drink urine or cutting open their feet.[30] If the guards thought they weren’t working quickly enough, they would beat them with tree branches.[30] The plaintiffs also described how they were kept in locked rooms at night and only given scraps of food to eat.[30]

The workers’ attorney, Paul L. Hoffman, said his clients were “former child slaves seeking compensation from two U.S. corporations which maintain a system of child slavery and forced labor in their Ivory Coast supply chain as a matter of corporate policy to gain a competitive advantage in the U.S. market.”[42]

Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with Nestlé and Cargill, wanted the case tossed out, and got their wish when the Supreme Court appallingly ruled in favor of the chocolate companies.[42, 43]

Nestlé and Cargill, along with Mars, Hershey’s, Barry Callebaut, Olam and Mondelēz, were simultaneously sued in another federal case (which is still pending) involving eight formerly enslaved plaintiffs also trafficked from Mali to cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast.[32, 44] Among other abuses, the plaintiffs were fed very little and were often kept alone, isolated from one other, while on the cocoa farms.[32] The chocolate companies unsurprisingly tried to get the case tossed here as well.[45]

(Video) How the Chocolate Industry Still Profits from Child Labor | ENDEVR Documentary

Unlike child labor and slavery in the West African cocoa industry, which has been exposed for some time, these abuses remained hidden on Brazilian cocoa farms until only a few years ago.[11]

While cocoa is native to the Amazon, Brazil only produces about 3.7% of the world’s supply. The Brazilian states of Pará and Bahia account for almost all of the country’s cocoa production. The residents of the main municipalities that produce cocoa, Ilhéus in Bahia and Medicilândia in Pará, face high rates of poverty. In Illhéus, for example, more than 22% the population live in homes without a toilet or running water.[11]

At least 7,900 children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 work on Brazil’s cocoa farms.[11] Veronica, a 14-year-old child who was interviewed in the documentary The Cocoa Route, has been working in cocoa since the age of 7.[46]

Stacking the cacao beans is the part of the harvest process that most often uses child labor in Brazil. Like in Western Africa, the Brazilian child workers also use machetes to harvest the cocoa from tree branches. They then carry baskets of the fruit, which can weigh up to 44 pounds, on their backs.[11]

Parents who work in cacao production often have no choice but to include their children in the harvest. Interviewed parents described that since farmers are paid such a low price for the cocoa, if their children do not collaborate on the plantations, “the bills don’t get paid.”[11]

Many children who work on cocoa farms do not attend school, or if they do attend, they may arrive without their homework completed and fall behind in their learning as a result.[11, 46] In a report by the ILO, the parents interviewed want to prioritize education in their children’s lives, but are faced with no alternative.[11]

One cocoa farmer described, “If I didn’t have this rope around my neck, my 12-year-old-son, who works in the harvest, would be studying.”[11]

Cases of slavery in Brazilian cocoa production were also discovered in recent years. Enslaved cocoa workers have been subject to unsanitary housing, poor work conditions, debt bondage, and long work hours. In three inspection operations in the same main cocoa producing municipalities, Medicilândia and Ilhéus, 83 workers were rescued.[11]

In June 2017, three workers were rescued from conditions of slavery that they had been experiencing since 2009. Inspectors discovered two huts with “appalling storage and hygiene conditions” and without electricity, running water, or toilets. The people that lived there had to collect untreated water to drink using empty agricultural chemical packaging to carry the water.[11]

The Industry’s Response

For years, the chocolate industry has not sufficiently addressed accusations of child labor in its supply chain, and many companies refuse to release information about where they sourced their cocoa.[47] Recently, many of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers have admitted to the existence of child labor and slavery within their supply chains, but this is only because they have been pressured to by consumers.

Since companies have been forced to acknowledge these abusive practices, their next tactic has been to distance themselves from their responsibility to end them: they publicly express concern over child labor and slavery in order to distract consumers from the fact that they profit off of the unliveable conditions for cocoa laborers.[4, 48, 14] The world’s largest chocolate manufacturers have formed various initiatives to supposedly address child labor and slavery in cocoa production, but these initiatives have unsurprisingly done little to remove either abuse.[49, 50]

While the chocolate companies frequently claim large numbers of farmers are impacted by their programs, the language they use is vague. For example, in Cargill’s “Cocoa Promise” program, they say they seek to have “1,000,000 farmers ‘benefiting’ from the services by 2030.” Cargill and other companies intentionally mislead consumers to believe that farmers’ lives are improving, or will improve, even though farmers themselves tend to see little impact on their lives from these programs.[49]

Moreover, these initiatives often don’t even involve very many farmers. Nestle’s Cocoa Plan, for instance, only works with 5% of cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast. There has been almost no reporting that reveals any large-scale impact from these programs.[49]

We also know from watching the largest chocolate manufacturers postpone a commitment to end the worst forms of child labor in cocoa for more than 15 years that promises it makes about its efforts mean nothing. In 2001, heads of Mars, Hershey, Nestlé USA, and other companies signed a deal called the Harkin-Engel Protocol, pledging to end “the worst forms of child labor” in their cocoa suppliers in four years. In 2005, they missed the deadline to end child labor in their cocoa supply, and proceeded to miss deadlines in 2008 and 2010.[8] The chocolate industry then scaled back its “goal” to reducing child labor only by 70% in 2020, and by that year, the amount of child labor had increased.[8, 51]

The chocolate companies signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol because they were desperate to avoid proposed legislation that would have created a federal certification system to indicate whether or not cocoa was harvested using child slavery. Under the protocol, federal regulators were kept from monitoring the chocolate supply, and the responsibility to end child labor and slavery in the chocolate industry was instead placed with the chocolate companies.[8]

Susan Smith, a previous spokesperson for the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, said, “We don’t need legislation to deal with the problem. We are already acting.”[8] Yet, two decades later, the problem has only worsened.

“We haven’t eradicated child labor because no one has been forced to,” said Antonie Fountain, the managing director of a group seeking to end child labor in the cocoa industry called the Voice Network. “What has been the consequence . . . for not meeting the goals? How many fines did they face? How many prison sentences? None. There has been zero consequence.”[8]

While the chocolate industry has taken little action to address child labor and slavery, companies have put enourmous energy into exaggerating their efforts. Leaked documents from a World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) strategy meeting, where representatives from Nestlé, Hershey’s, Mars, and others were present, showed that the industry prioritized messaging around its “accomplishments” in addressing child labor and slavery over actually ending those abuses.[18, 48]

The leaked documents additionally show how the chocolate industry attempts to downplay the abuse in its supply chain. As the WFC meeting notes reveal, chocolate companies were given early access to the draft of a NORC at the University of Chicago report on the prevalence of child labor on Ghana and the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms.[18, 48] The companies expressed “comments and concerns” that led NORC to revise and likely water down the report.[18, 48]

The draft of the NORC report, which was also leaked, included higher numbers of children working in cocoa: the early version stated that 2.1 million children are engaged in child labor on Ghana and the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms, but NORC lowered the number of child laborers to 1.56 million in the final published version.[52, 33] No amount of reworking the methodology can hide the fact that the numbers of children working on cocoa farms has increased over the past 20 years due to the cocoa industry’s failure.[51] Neither of these estimates even include the number of trafficked children working in cocoa, given that the NORC report did not cover forced child labor.[33]

The WFC strategy meeting document included an agreed-upon statement from the cocoa industry that seeks to obscure the prevalence of child labor and slavery: “The cocoa and chocolate industry has zero tolerance for forced labor by adults or children and these practices are extremely rare.”[48]

The chocolate industry is also being called upon to develop and financially support programs to rescue and rehabilitate children who have been sold to cocoa farms.[53] To date, the industry has done just as little to aid survivors of child labor as it has done to prevent child labor in the first place. This lip service is characteristic of the chocolate industry, which has the resources to address and eliminate child labor but consistently fails to take action.

Are the Labels on Chocolate Meaningful?

Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry (6)

The truth is that as consumers today, we have no sure way of knowing if the chocolate we buy involved the use of slavery or child labor. Between a quarter and a third of all cocoa is grown under a certification label, such as various fair trade certifications and the Rainforest Alliance/UTZ Certification; however, no single label can guarantee that the chocolate was made without the use of exploitive labor.[54, 55] The third-party inspectors for these certifications are usually only required to visit fewer than 10% of cocoa farms.[8] Moreover, audits are usually announced in advance, which enables farmers to hide evidence of rule violations.[56] These inspections have made child labor more hidden while remaining just as prevalent.[22]

Some certifiers even claim that their standards for labor practices do not come with a guarantee that they are being met. One certifier said, “There is no guarantee. We don’t use the word guarantee.”[40]

(Video) The Challenge of Child Labour and Chocolate

In 2010, the founders of the “Fair Trade” certification process had to suspend several of their Western African suppliers due to evidence that they were using child labor.[57] Additionally, in 2011, a Danish journalist investigated farms in Western Africa where major chocolate companies buy cocoa. He filmed illegal child labor on these farms, including those certified by the now merged certification bodies, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.[3] Another advocate found trafficked children laboring on Fair Trade certified cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast as recently as May 2017.[49]

UTZ has rules against child labor, but it co-sponsored reports in 2013 and 2017 that found that child labor was even more prevalent on UTZ certified farms in the Ivory Coast than other farms. Children on UTZ-certified farms were also more likely to be engaged in hazardous tasks such as working with agricultural chemicals and machetes.[56]

An author of one of the UTZ-sponsored reports said, “Consumers believe that by buying certified cocoa they are doing something good for the environment, or children or farmers. But that is a fiction.”[56]

Charity Ryerson, a co-founder of a corporate accountability nonprofit, said she found little evidence when visiting cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast that anyone was making sure “certified” farms were complying with standards. She described how a requirement for clean bathrooms was checked off on an evaluation checklist even though none of the farms have bathrooms.[49, 56]

Ryerson added, “From our experience talking to farmers, it was clear that certification meant almost nothing. It’s an open secret in the Ivory Coast that no one checks the certified farms for compliance.”[56]

A report by the University of Sheffield found that 95% of the cocoa workers they surveyed in Ghana did not know whether their worksite was certified or not.[40]

Brazil is the “least certified cocoa country,” but the situation with its certifications is very similar to that of cocoa in Western Africa.[58] Patrícia de Mello Sanfelici, a member of the ILO report team, said that companies will show “perfect reports, but in fact they are only documents … they don’t represent the real thing, what really happens when we are not looking.”[58] It is not an accident that certifications fail to improve labor conditions in the cocoa industry. Because certifiers compete with one another, they often lower standards or enforcement in order to attract clients.[49]

The following is an excerpt from a study conducted by the Corporate Accountability Lab on the failure of initiatives in the chocolate industry like certifications:

In order to understand the gap between consumer perception and farmer impact better, we brought certified chocolate bars to villages where some or all farmers were certified. We held up the bar with the label, and explained to the farmers what consumers expected out of the label (primarily that farmers were paid a fair price, earned a decent living, and certain practices—like child labor and deforestation—were not present). We also explained the difference in retail price between Fairtrade and uncertified chocolate.

The overwhelming response of farmers to this information was shock and outrage. One farmer pulled his worn shirt out in front of him and asked if it looked like he earned a decent living. A woman in one village said she could hardly afford to send her children to school, so how could anyone think she earned a fair price. Our farmer consultations revealed virtually imperceptible differences between certified and uncertified farms in terms of living incomes, poverty, education, access to healthcare, farmer bargaining power, or access to information.

Chocolate companies keep certifying their products to tell consumers that they source their cocoa ethically, but these companies continue to enable abuse on cocoa farms.

The Problems With Cocoa Cooperatives

While cocoa cooperatives may seem like a solution to the issue of chocolate companies withholding decision-making power from cocoa farmers, the cooperatives are rarely fully worker-owned (at least in Western Africa) and are often simply “buying agents” created by chocolate companies. A member of the World Cocoa Farmers Organization said, “What we have in most producing countries especially in West Central Africa is cooperatives put in place by one of the chocolate companies so they can say to people ‘we buy from cooperatives.’” He said that out of 20 cocoa cooperatives in the Ivory Coast, you won’t even find two that are driven by cocoa farmers.[59]

Another issue is that even if not all of the cocoa farms employ the same labor practices, cocoa beans that a certifier gets from separate farms may not be labeled and may all be mixed together upon arrival. Journalists documented bags of beans from about 40 different farmers arriving at Coopaweb, a cocoa cooperative in the Ivory Coast, being opened and combined with one another prior to being shipped out. Coopaweb sells its beans to Cargill, which supplies companies like Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé, and was Fair Trade certified until it had its certification suspended for undisclosed reasons.[4]

A Living Income for Cocoa Farmers

Certifications do little to address the root cause of child labor and slavery in the cocoa industry: the absense of a living income for cocoa farmers. A living income is the income a household needs to earn in order for its members to afford food, water, housing, health care, education, clothing, transportation, emergency funds, and other essential needs.[22] Almost no cocoa farmers in Ghana or the Ivory Coast make a living income.[22] This even includes cocoa farmers who must turn to growing additional crops besides cocoa in order to supplement their incomes.[60] As long as farmers do not earn a living income, they will not have enough to pay the workers on their farms a living income either and child labor and slavery will continue to pervade the industry.

Most certified cocoa farmers also still live in poverty.[61] Certified farms receive payments called premiums, but they are partially paid to a communal fund for farmer training.[62] The remaining money paid directly to farmers is minimal. A UTZ certified farmer, for instance, receives only the equivalent of around $99 to $158 in cash per year from premiums.[62] Fernando Morales-de la Cruz, founder of Cacao for Change, said, “As a business model, Fairtrade was never designed to be fair to farmers or farm workers because the payment made to them has always been unfair.”[63]

In addition to certification bodies, some chocolate companies and the governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast have put forward policies for minimum prices that should be paid to farmers for their cocoa. Despite having names like “Living Income Reference Price” and “Living Income Differential,” these prices are still too low for cocoa farmers to actually make a living income.[64]

Moreover, chocolate companies have been resistant to paying Ghana and the Ivory Coast’s Living Income Differential (LID), an extra $400 charged per ton of cocoa paid to the countries’ governments.[65, 66] The purpose of the LID is to increase cocoa farmer incomes, although there is concern about how much of the money will directly benefit farmers.[66]

In 2020 Hershey’s bought approximately 30,000 tons of cocoa on an exchange in order to avoid paying this extra price.[67] Whether or not the LID is successful in its goal, the fact that Hershey’s tried to opt out of an effort to improve farmer incomes reveals how much it values profit over workers’ lives.

Despite their role in contributing to child labor, slavery, and human trafficking, the chocolate industry has not taken significant steps to remedy the problem. Within their $103 billion-per-year industry, chocolate companies have the power to end the use of child labor and slave labor by paying cocoa farmers a living income for their product.[37]

For example, the chocolate company Ferrero could provide a living income for all 90,000 cocoa farmers producing its cocoa and still pay the Ferrero family about $233 million a year.[22]

Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy has led to the deterioration of cocoa producing countries’ economic situations.[18] The combination of lower farmer incomes and school closures is likely what led to an estimated 15–20% increase in child labor on the Ivory Coast and Ghana’s cocoa farms in the first months of the pandemic.[68, 18, 69] Child laborers and victims of slavery are also even more vulnerable to the virus due to their lack of healthcare.[70]

The chocolate industry’s response to the pandemic has been inadequate. Like the money chocolate companies have spent to address child labor and slavery in general, their donations to COVID-19 relief efforts represent only a fraction of the companies’ revenue: for example, Hershey’s donations in the initial months represented only 0.05% of their profits.[18, 70]

Our Responsibility

Multiple government and NGO programs have been developed in an attempt to address the root causes of “the worst forms of child labor” and slavery in the chocolate industry. However, these efforts will not be successful unless the chocolate industry begins to show genuine support for paying cocoa farmers a living income.

Consumers play an essential role in diminishing the food industry’s injustices. Child slavery on cocoa farms is a difficult issue to fully address because the most serious abuses take place across the world; however, that does not mean our responsibility is reduced. Chocolate has become a regular presence in many of our lives, but it is important to remember it is a luxury.

(Video) 16x9 - Child Labour: The Dark Side of Chocolate

What You Can Do

  1. Consult our list: Use Food Empowerment Project’s (F.E.P.’s) chocolate list to be sure that when you buy vegan chocolate, you are not supporting companies that source their cocoa from areas where slavery and the worst forms of child labor are prevalent. Other than a few exceptions (which are explained), we encourage people not to purchase chocolate that is sourced from Western Africa or Brazil. Even if this chocolate is vegan, that does not mean it is cruelty-free. The list is available on our website along with free downloadable apps for the iPhone and Android.
  2. Speak Out: Contact chocolate companies and let them know how you feel about the injustices in the cocoa industry. Demand transparency from companies that have refused to disclose where they source their cocoa from, and call on companies to pay a living income to cocoa farmers. Even if a company is recommended on our chocolate list, contact them to let them know that is why you are buying their product. Our free app makes it easy to contact the companies.

*This fact about children’s exposure to agricultural chemicals is from the published version of the NORC report, “Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa Production in Cocoa Growing Areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.” Given that the final version of the report was reworked due to the chocolate industry’s influence, this data is not entirely credible. However, in the original draft it was estimated that over 1 million children working on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast are exposed to agricultural chemicals.

Media Inquires

If you’d like to get in touch, send an email to media at foodispower.org

References:

1] “Growing Cocoa.” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), http://www.fao.org/3/AD220E/AD220E01.htm. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

[2] Wessel, Marius and P.M. Foluke Quist-Wessel. “Cocoa Production in West Africa, a Review and Analysis of Recent Developments.” NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Science, vol. 74–75, Dec. 2015, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.njas.2015.09.001. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

[3] Shady Chocolate. Directed by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romano, Bastard Film & TV, 2012.

[4] Chocolate’s Heart of Darkness. Directed by Paul Moreira, Public Sénat, 2019.

[5] Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Tulane University Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer, 31 Mar. 2011, https://issuu.com/stevebutton/docs/tulane_final_report. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

[6] BBC. March 24, 2010. “Tracing the Bitter Truth of Chocolate and Child Labour.” Panorama, BBC, 24 Mar. 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD85fPzLUjo. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

[7] McKenzie, David and Brent Swails. “Child Slavery and Chocolate: All Too Easy to Find.” CNN, 19 Jan. 2012, https://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/19/child-slavery-and-chocolate-all-too-easy-to-find/. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[8] Whoriskey, Peter and Rachel Siegel. “Cocoa’s Child Laborers: Mars, Nestlé and Hershey Pledged Nearly Two Decades Ago to Stop Using Cocoa Harvested By Children. Yet Much of the Chocolate You Buy Still Starts With Child Labor.” The Washington Post, 5 Jun. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/business/hershey-nestle-mars-chocolate-child-labor-west-africa/. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[9] 2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. United States Department of Labor (DOL), Sept. 2020, https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ILAB/child_labor_reports/tda2020/2020_TDA_BigBook_Online_optimized.pdf?mc_cid=93f99c6252&mc_eid=8685c28e55. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[10] Williams, O, et al. “Perception of Nigerian Cocoa Farmers on Child Labour: Implications for Hazardous Child Labour.” Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, vol. 10, no. 3, Jan. 2016, https://doi.org/10.9734/AJAEES/2016/21644. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[11] Cadeia produtiva do Cacau – Avanços e desafios rumo à promoção do trabalho decente: análise situacional. International Labour Organization (ILO), Nov. 2018, https://www.ilo.org/brasilia/publicacoes/WCMS_817094/lang–pt/index.htm. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021. Working paper.

[12] “Franco-Canadian Journalist Killed by First Lady’s Security Guards, says French TV.” RFI, 22 Jul. 2009, http://www1.rfi.fr/actuen/articles/115/article_4453.asp. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[13] “Ivory Coast Arrests 3 Journalists over Cocoa Story.” Voice of America, 16 Jul. 2010, https://www.voanews.com/a/ivory-coast-arrests-3-journalists-over-cocoa-story-98661144/161593.html. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[14] Invisible Hands. Directed by Shraysi Tandon, First Run Features, 2018. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[15] El Makhloufi, Abdel, et al. Towards a Sustainable Agro-Logistics in Developing Countries. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), Sept. 2018, http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/735521553488355096/pdf/Towards-Sustainable-Agrologistics-in-Developing-Countries-Cocoa-Supply-Chain-in-Cote-D-ivoire.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[16] Athreya, Bama. “White Man’s ‘Burden’ and the New Colonialism in West African Cocoa Production.” Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, vol. 5, no. 1, 2011, pp. 51–59, https://doi.org/10.2979/racethmulglocon.5.1.51. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[17] Yu, Douglas. “West African Cocoa Farmers Yet to Earn A Living Income Despite Sales Growth of Fairtrade Certified Cocoa Beans.” Confectionary News, 19 Oct. 2018, https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2018/10/19/West-African-cocoa-farmers-yet-to-earn-a-living-income-says-Fairtrade#:~:text=The%20survey%20indicated%2042%25%20of,a%20living%20income%2C%20it%20added. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[18] “NGOs: Are Industry and Governments Watering Down New Cocoa Report Data to Downplay Persistent Child Labor and Farmer Poverty?” Fair World Project (FWP), 13 Oct. 2020, https://fairworldproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/GA-NORC-report-press-release-Child-Labor-and-Farmer-Poverty.pdf. Press Release. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.

[19] Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe et al. No. 19–416, Supreme Court of the U.S., June 2021, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5810dda3e3df28ce37b58357/t/5f90b737ac064c0924860232/1603319607525/Cocoa+Amicus+Main+Document+E+FILE++Oct+21+2020.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[20] Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020, Trends and the Road Forward. International Labour Organization (ILO), 2020, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_norm/@ipec/documents/publication/wcms_797515.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[21] CLCCG Annual Report. United States Department of Labor (DOL), 2018, https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ILAB/legacy/files/CLCCG2018AnnualReport.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[22] Fountain, Antonie C. and Friedel Huetz-Adams. Cocoa Barometer 2020. VOICE Network, 2020, https://www.voicenetwork.eu/cocoa-barometer/. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[23] Rolfes, Ellen. “One Million Children Labor in Africa’s Goldmines.” PBS NewsHour, 10 July 2013, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/world-july-dec13-burkinafaso_07-10. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[24] “Child Labour in Africa.” International Labour Organization (ILO), https://www.ilo.org/africa/areas-of-work/child-labour/lang–en/index.htm. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

(Video) 100% of chocolate can be traced back to child labour...and worse

[25] Gregory, Amanda. “Chocolate and Child Slavery: Say No to Human Trafficking this Holiday Season.” Huffington Post, 31 Oct. 2013, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chocolate-and-child-slave_b_4181089. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[26] The Dark Side of Chocolate. Directed by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romano, Bastard Film & TV, 2010.

[27] Ventura, Luca. “Poorest Countries in the World 2021.” Global Finance Magazine, 21 May 2021, https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/the-poorest-countries-in-the-world. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[28] Raghavan, Sudarsan, and Sumana Chatterjee. “How Your Chocolate May be Tainted.” Knight Ridder Newspapers, 2001, http://www.rrojasdatabank.info/chocolate.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[29] 2013/14 Survey Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas. Tulane University Payson Center for International Development, 30 July 2015, https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ILAB/research_file_attachment/Tulane%20University%20-%20Survey%20Research%20Cocoa%20Sector%20-%2030%20July%202015.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[30] Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe et al. No. 19–416, Supreme Court of the U.S, June 2021, https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/19/19-416/157704/20201014155852761_Nestle%20Revised%20Final%20Type%20A.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[31] “Recommendation 190.” International Labour Organization (ILO), 1999, https://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc87/com-chir.htm. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[32] Balch, Oliver. “Mars, Nestlé and Hershey to Face Child Slavery Lawsuit in U.S.” The Guardian, 12 Feb. 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/feb/12/mars-nestle-and-hershey-to-face-landmark-child-slavery-lawsuit-in-us. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[33] Sadhu, Santadarshan, et al. NORC Final Report: Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa Production in Cocoa Growing Areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. NORC at the University of Chicago, Oct. 2020, https://www.norc.org/PDFs/Cocoa%20Report/NORC%202020%20Cocoa%20Report_English.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[34] Senator Engel (NY). “1700.” Congressional Record, v. 147, pt. 9, 28 June 2001, (June 28, 2001) pp. H3781, https://www.congress.gov/crec/2001/06/28/CREC-2001-06-28.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[35] “C182 – Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention.” No. 182. International Labour Organization (ILO), 1999, https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C182. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[36] Côte d’Ivoire, United States Department of Labor (DOL), 2015, https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ILAB/child_labor_reports/tda2015/cotedivoire.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[37] Whoriskey, Peter. “U.S. Report: Much of the World’s Chocolate Supply Relies on More Than 1 Million Child Workers.” The Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/10/19/million-child-laborers-chocolate-supply/. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[38] Mills, Abby. Personal interview. 28 May 2014.

[39] Bitter Sweets: Prevalence of Fourced Labour and Child Labour in the Cocoa Sectors of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Tulane University and the Walk Free Foundation, Sept. 2018, https://cocoainitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Cocoa-Report_181004_V15-FNL_digital.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[40] LeBaron, Genevieve. The Global Business of Forced Labour. Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) & University of Sheffield, 2018, http://globalbusinessofforcedlabour.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Report-of-Findings-Global-Business-of-Forced-Labour.pdf. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

[41] Slavery: A Global Investigation. Directed by Brian Woods and Kate Blewett, True Vision TV, 2000, https://www.truevisiontv.com/films/slavery-a-global-investigation. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[42] Whoriskey, Peter. “Supreme Court Weighs Child-Slavery Case Against Nestlé USA, Cargill.” The Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/01/cocoa-supreme-court-child-labor/. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[43] Barnes, Robert and Peter Whoriskey. “Supreme Court Says Chocolate Companies Cannot Be Sued Over Child Slavery on African Cocoa Farms.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-cocoa-farms-africa-child-slavery/2021/06/17/295ab51e-beed-11eb-83e3-0ca705a96ba4_story.html. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[44] Demetrakakes, Pan. “Cocoa Giants Hit With Another Bay Area Lawsuit.” Food Processing, 15 Feb. 2021, https://www.foodprocessing.com/industrynews/2021/cocoa-giants-hit-with-another-slave-lawsuit/. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[45] Issouf Coubaly, et al. v. Cargill, Inc., et al. Memorandum of Points and Authorities In Support of Defendants’ Joint Motion to Dismiss. No. 21-0386, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, http://www.iradvocates.org/sites/iradvocates.org/files/7.30.21%20Defs%20Memo.%20in%20Support%20of%20Motion%20to%20Dismiss.pdf. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

[46] The Cocoa Route. Directed by Marques Casara and Poliana Dallabrida, Papel Social, 2019, https://vimeo.com/332509945. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[47] Feeley, Jef. “Hershey Investors Suing Over Child Labor Allowed to Pursue Files.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, originally published in Bloomberg Businessweek, 19 Mar. 2014, https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/hershey-investors-suing-over-child-labor-allowed-to-pursue-files/article_97f46f27-52bd-5881-96a6-80fadb4bfa21.html. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[48] “Minutes of the Teleconference WCF ad hoc NORC Communications Working Group Call.” Neslté, et al., 26 Feb. 2020, https://fairworldproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/WCF-NORC-strategy-2.pdf. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

[49] Empty Promises: The Failure of Voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives to Improve Farmer Incomes in the Ivorian Cocoa Sector. Corporate Accountability Lab, July 2019, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5810dda3e3df28ce37b58357/t/5d321076f1125e0001ac51ab/1563562117949/Empty_Promises_2019.pdf. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[50] “Money and Power: The Unnamed Ingredients.” For a Better World, from Fair World Project, 13 Apr. 2021, https://fairworldproject.org/podcast/season-1/episode-6/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=b9515490-4737-49d0-bcb0-d464c04ec0c7. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

[51] Myers, Anthony. “New Report Reveals Child Labor on West African Cocoa Farms Has Increased in Past 10 Years.” Confectionary News, 7 May 2020, https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2020/05/07/New-report-reveals-child-labor-on-West-African-cocoa-farms-has-increased-in-past-10-years. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[52] Sadhu, Shanto, et al. Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa Production in Cocoa Growing Areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. NORC at the University of Chicago, https://foodispower.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/CONFIDENTIAL_NORC-2018-19-Cocoa-Report-DRAFT_English-3.pdf. Draft. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

[53] “Demands.” 10 Campaign, 2012, http://www.10campaign.com/demands/. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[54] “Certification Is Not the Systematic Solution to Unsustainable Cocoa.” VOICE Network, 2019, https://www.voicenetwork.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/190619-VOICE-Certification-Position-Paper-Final.pdf. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

[55] “Fairtrade Combats Child Labor.” Fairtrade America, https://www.fairtradeamerica.org/why-fairtrade/explore-the-issues/child-labor-rights-safety/#:~:text=Fairtrade%20Standards%20prohibit%20child%20labor,is%20free%20of%20child%20labor. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[56] Whoriskey, Peter. “Chocolate Companies Sell ‘Certified Cocoa.’ But Some of Those Farms Use Child Labor, Harm Forests.” The Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/10/23/chocolate-companies-say-their-cocoa-is-certified-some-farms-use-child-labor-thousands-are-protected-forests/. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[57] “‘Shocked But Not Surprised’: Fairtrade Responds to Report of Widespread Child Labour in West African Cocoa Industry.” Fairtrade International, 24 July 2020, https://www.fairtrade.net/news/shocked-but-not-surprised-fairtrade-responds-to-report-of-widespread-child-labour-in-west-african-cocoa-industry. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[58] Examining Brazil’s Cocoa-Chocolate Supply Chain: Film Screening and Discussion, Part 2. Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) and Harvard University, 24 Apr. 2019, https://chocolatrasonline.com.br/chocolate-cacau-e-direitos-humanos/. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

[59] Nieburg, Oliver. “‘Fake Cooperatives’: Farmer Groups Warn of Sharm Fair Trade Co-ops in Cocoa.” Confectionary News, 28 Nov. 2017, https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2017/11/28/Fake-cooperatives-Cocoa-farmer-groups-warn-of-sham-fair-trade-co-ops. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.

[60] Kiewisch, Elizabeth. “Looking Within the Household: A Study on Gender, Food Security, and Resilience in Cocoa-Growing Communities.” Gender & Development, vol. 23, no. 3, 13 Nov. 2015, pp. 497–513, https://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/files_mf/1450383402GenderandDevelopmentElizabethKiewischNov2015.pdf. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[61] Fountain, Antonie C. and Friedel Huetz-Adams. Cocoa Barometer 2018. VOICE Network, 2018, https://www.voicenetwork.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2018-Cocoa-Barometer.pdf. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[62] Nieburg, Oliver. “Fair Game: How Effective is Cocoa Certification?” Food Navigator, 20 Dec. 2017, https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2017/12/20/Fair-trade-How-effective-is-cocoa-certification?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20-Dec-2017&c=7fiBYGSIbNocWxvWGeklvYrc0PxTtSqy&p2=. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[63] Michail, Niamh. “Higher Fairtrade Prices Are Still Unfair, Says Cacao for Change Founder.” Food Navigator, 11 Dec. 2018, https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/11/Higher-Fairtrade-prices-are-still-unfair-says-Cacao-for-Change-founder. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[64] “Necessary Farm Gate Prices for a Living Income: Existing Living Income Reference Prices are Too Low.” VOICE Network, Jan. 2020, https://www.voicenetwork.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/200113-Necessary-Farm-Gate-Prices-for-a-Living-Income-Definitive.pdf. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[65] Myers, Anthony. “Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire Threaten Cocoa Sustainability Schemes if Producers Don’t Pay More for Beans.” Confectionary News, 14 Oct. 2019, https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2019/10/14/Ghana-and-Cote-d-Ivoire-threaten-cocoa-sustainability-schemes-if-producers-don-t-pay-more-for-beans. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[66] “VOICE Network Welcomes Historic Move to Raise Cocoa Prices, Questions Remain on Implementation.” VOICE Network, 2019, https://www.voicenetwork.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190905-VOICE-Position-on-West-African-Cocoa-Floor-Price.pdf. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[67] Myers, Anthony. “Hershey Move of Buying Cocoa on Futures Market Threatens LID Agreement with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.” Confectionary News, https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2020/11/23/Hershey-move-of-buying-cocoa-on-futures-market-threatens-LID-agreement-with-Ghana-and-Cote-d-Ivoire?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=23-Nov-2020. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[68] Knott, Stacey. “Cash Transfer Program Aims to Combat Child Labor in Ghana.” Voice of America, 8 May 2020, https://www.voanews.com/africa/cash-transfer-program-aims-combat-child-labor-ghana. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

[69] Schmidt, Sonia and Kaila Uyeda. Toward a Sweeter Future: Analysis and Recommendations Concerning Child Labor in the Cocoa Industry in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unicef, 15 July 2020, https://gdc.unicef.org/resource/towards-sweeter-future-analysis-and-recommendations-concerning-child-labor-cocoa-industry. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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FAQs

Does slavery still exist in the chocolate industry? ›

Both children and adults are enslaved on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. A study found that in Ghana, 23% of surveyed cocoa laborers reported having performed work without compensation.

Is child labor used to make chocolate? ›

You shouldn't have to worry that the chocolate you eat might contain cocoa cultivated or harvested by a child. Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, together, produce nearly 60% of the world's cocoa each year, but latest estimates found 1.56 million children engaged in hazardous work on cocoa farms in these two countries.

When did slavery start in the chocolate industry? ›

As Chocolate production became more globalized the amount of slaves used in its production increased. Between the years 1500 and 1900 between 10 and 15 million slaves were transported across the Atlantic to the Americas.

What chocolate is slavery free? ›

Tony's Chocolonely: 100% Slave-Free Chocolate

Unlike other companies, Tony's was founded explicitly as a mission-driven company to eradicate slavery and child labor from the cocoa supply chain. This Dutch company hopes to lead by example and raise the bar for other cocoa companies.

What chocolate does not use child labor? ›

Alter Eco. Alter Eco chocolate bars and truffles are made with cacao sourced from South America where, according to Food is Power, it is less likely that cacao is farmed using child labor.

What percent of chocolate comes from slavery? ›

Which made for bitter irony when the Supreme Court declined to hold chocolate makers accountable for their links to child and slave labor. Many cocoa farmers in West Africa—source of around 70% of the world's cocoa—engage in human trafficking and child labor, including child slavery.

Do all chocolate companies use child labour? ›

For years, these companies have pledged to eradicate this problem and for years they have come up short on their promises. So, a short answer to, “do chocolate companies really use child labor?” is, sadly, an absolute yes. The reasons why, especially in our complex global economy, are a little more complex.

What is child slavery in the chocolate industry? ›

It is said that an estimated 1.8 million children are currently working in cocoa plantations. Children, between 10 to 15 years old and often younger, are used as slaves to pay off their family's debts and being forced to do hazardous work. Sometimes they are even stolen from their parents, never to see them again.

Does child slavery still exist today? ›

According to the 2022 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, the highest proportion of children are in forced marriage (nearly 9 million). Of the children in forced labour (3.3 million) half are in commercial sexual exploitation, and just under 40% are in forced labour exploitation in the private economy.

How many children work in cocoa industry? ›

Forced labour of children in cocoa agriculture

This equates to around 1,000 victims of child forced labour in cocoa agriculture in medium to high production areas over that period.

Does Hershey still use child labor? ›

Hershey does not tolerate child labor within our supply chain, and we are working to prevent and eliminate it within cocoa communities.

Which chocolate is most ethical? ›

17 Ethical Chocolate Brands You Can't Say No To
  1. Doisy & Dam. Sometimes a little ethical chocolate hit is all you need. ...
  2. Tony's Chocolonely. ...
  3. Cocoa Loco. ...
  4. Divine. ...
  5. Seed & Bean. ...
  6. Love Cocoa. ...
  7. Chocolate and Love. ...
  8. Luisa's Vegan Chocolates.
30 Mar 2022

Is there any ethical chocolate? ›

Theo Chocolate

As the first organic and fair trade chocolate factory in the country, Theo Chocolate's founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical, sustainable fashion.

How do you know if chocolate is ethical? ›

Here's how to know if a chocolate brand is ethical.

One is by looking on a website that shares an ongoing list of ethical chocolate companies, such as Slave Free Chocolate, The Good Shopping Guide, Fairtrade America, and Fair Trade Certified.

Does Kit Kat use child labor? ›

Did you know that was the case in the first place? KitKats—those snappy, chocolate-covered wafers—have been made with cocoa harvested by child laborers for years.

What products use child labor? ›

The most common agricultural goods listed are sugarcane, cotton, coffee, tobacco, cattle, rice, and fish. In the manufacturing sector, bricks, garments, textiles, footwear, carpets, and fireworks appear most frequently. In mined or quarried goods, gold, coal and diamonds are most common.

How did Nestle respond to child labour? ›

Nestlé today announced a new plan to tackle child labor risks in cocoa production. At the center is an innovative income accelerator program, which aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa-farming families, while also advancing regenerative agriculture practices and gender equality.

How can we help stop child labour? ›

How we can stop child labour in India?
  1. Spread awareness. If parents and communities are aware and alert, disruption in children's education can be prevented and many of them will not get pushed into child labour. ...
  2. More stringent laws and effective implementation. ...
  3. Sending more children to school.
12 Oct 2020

What is wrong with child labor? ›

They are more likely to drop out of school and complete fewer months of higher education. The unconditional worst forms of child labor (e.g., slavery, soldiering, prostitution, drug trafficking) may have traumatic effects, including longer term health and socioeconomic effects.

How is child labour connected to the chocolate industry? ›

Harvesting and processing cacao is labor-intensive and many of these indigent farmers simply do not have the financial means or adequate family labor to make cacao growing viable. And so to economize they turn to children – often as young as 5 but more typically 10 to 12 years in age.

How are the farmers and their children treated by the regular chocolate trade? ›

Typically adult farmers are paid poorly for the cocoa they harvest, further compounding the issue. In other cases, children are trafficked and forced to harvest cocoa. Children as young as six years old work on cocoa farms under extremely hazardous conditions8.

When did the child labour start? ›

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, many children aged 5–14 from poorer families worked in Western nations and their colonies alike. These children mainly worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, mining, and services such as news boys – some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours.

Does M&M use child labor? ›

As of 2019, Mars can trace about 24% of its supply back to farms suspected of child labor, which is the less than the other two major chocolate brands. Hershey can trace less than half while Nestle can trace a whopping 49% back to these same farms.

What can you do to help end slavery? ›

  1. Action Library. Ways to get involved in the fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
  2. Buy Slave Free. Shop with businesses that are transparent, examine their supply chains and buy fair trade or locally-sourced products.
  3. Give. ...
  4. Volunteer. ...
  5. Educate. ...
  6. Job Opportunities. ...
  7. Report A TIP. ...
  8. Advocate.

Is Cadbury chocolate slavery free? ›

While Cadbury has demonstrated its commitment to ending forced child labor in the West African cocoa industry by selling Fair Trade certified chocolates in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand—the same cannot be said of Cadbury products sold in the United States.

Does Hershey still use child labor? ›

Hershey does not tolerate child labor within our supply chain, and we are working to prevent and eliminate it within cocoa communities.

Is Cadbury chocolate slavery free? ›

While Cadbury has demonstrated its commitment to ending forced child labor in the West African cocoa industry by selling Fair Trade certified chocolates in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand—the same cannot be said of Cadbury products sold in the United States.

Is there any ethical chocolate? ›

Theo Chocolate

As the first organic and fair trade chocolate factory in the country, Theo Chocolate's founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical, sustainable fashion.

Is the chocolate industry ethical? ›

Despite pledges made by many of the big chocolate giants to put an end to using cocoa harvested by children, most of the chocolate we buy sadly still involves child labour. Child labour is prominent in areas of West Africa on cocoa farms, with children as young as 6 working extremely long hours for less than $2/day.

Does Kit Kat use child labor? ›

Did you know that was the case in the first place? KitKats—those snappy, chocolate-covered wafers—have been made with cocoa harvested by child laborers for years.

Does M&M use child labor? ›

As of 2019, Mars can trace about 24% of its supply back to farms suspected of child labor, which is the less than the other two major chocolate brands. Hershey can trace less than half while Nestle can trace a whopping 49% back to these same farms.

How can we help stop child labour? ›

  1. Review national laws regarding child labour.
  2. Refer to your buyers' requirements.
  3. Check the age of your employees.
  4. Identify hazardous work.
  5. Carry out workplace risk assessment.
  6. Stop hiring children below the minimum age.
  7. Remove children from hazardous work.
  8. Reduce the hours for children under the.

Does Cadbury use palm oil? ›

You can be assured that the palm oil we use in Cadbury products is certified as sustainable. We do not buy crude palm oil and are committed to working with producers, the food industry and governments to develop a viable supply of sustainable palm oil.

What does Fairtrade mean in chocolate? ›

Fair trade chocolate is chocolate that is made with cacao beans from farmers who are paid a fair price for their crop, instead of the low price set by the market. This allows farmers to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better life for their families.

Is Cadbury a good company to work for? ›

Nice. Alright really busy during holidays and weekends. A lot of hard work but it's rewarding as well. Everyone is friendly and outgoing you always have people to talk to.

Is Dairy Milk chocolate ethical? ›

From farming techniques, to looking after the environment and supporting the local economy, it supports the community as a whole. Today we're proud to say that Cadbury Dairy Milk cocoa is sustainably sourced through Cocoa Life, and by 2025 we're aiming to say the same for all Cadbury products.

Is it unethical to eat chocolate? ›

There's no justification for eating chocolate produced by suffering (human or non-human), but if you are going to eat vegan chocolate, please make sure you're only consuming chocolate that does not come from a country known for the worst forms of child labor.

Why do we need to be ethical with chocolate? ›

Our latest research found that many leading chocolate brands are still working with suppliers linked to human rights issues and child labour. This is why it's so important purchase ethical chocolate. The chocolate industry is riddled with human rights issues, including unfair pay, child labour, and even slavery.

How do you choose an ethical chocolate? ›

The Fairtrade Mark with an arrow means that the ingredients that are available under Fairtrade conditions have to be Fairtrade (eg, cocoa, sugar, vanilla). The minimum total Fairtrade content is 20%. You can check the product labelling for more information about which ingredients are Fairtrade.

What health problems can chocolate cause? ›

Chocolate receives a lot of bad press because of its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

Videos

1. Addressing child labour and modern slavery in the chocolate industry
(Sedex)
2. Chocolate Child Slaves- CNN
(BreakingNews56)
3. child slavery in the Chocolate Industry
(Thomas Hinton)
4. Child Labor/Slavery in the chocolate industry
(PimpcicleX)
5. Big Chocolate: US Supreme Court to weigh in on child slavery lawsuit against Nestle, Cargill
(Global News)
6. The Harsh Realities of Child Laborers in the Cocoa Industry
(Annenberg Media)

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