Child labor in cocoa production in poor countries amounts to “slavery”, as this sector is considered one of the most child-reliant jobs to be completed.
A recent study by the International Labor Organization showed that one in five children in the poorest countries in the world is involved in child labour, while sub-Saharan Africa has the largest proportion of working children between the ages of 5 and 17.
According to the same study, more than one in four children are engaged in work considered harmful to their health and development in the world’s least developed countries.
The international community has committed to ending child labor by the end of 2025, yet there are still about 3.3 million children in forced labor situations, according to the organization.
- Advertisement -
The number of working children around the world also increased to 160 million in 2020, and is expected to reach 168.9 million by the end of 2022.
According to the organization, about 79 million children work in hazardous work today.
** Funds to compensate for child slavery
Impact International, a London-based think tank, has urged Switzerland and the European Union to provide financial compensation for manifestations of the use of child slaves in some labour.
The foundation said in a recent statement that many Swiss and European companies “have engaged and are still exploiting the weak in production processes to maximize their financial profits,” referring to child labour.
The foundation said that about 1.5 million children work in the cocoa fields in Côte d’Ivoire and neighboring Ghana, which produce 60 percent of the world’s cocoa supply.
She stated that farmers in cocoa fields receive only about US$0.78 (per day) in Côte d’Ivoire and US$1 in Ghana, which is far below the extreme poverty line set by the World Bank at $2.15.
In a previous study, the Foundation considered that heavyweight chocolate products such as Nestle, Hershey and Mars were selling products partially co-produced by children, which amounts to classifying these practices as similar to “slavery”.
“These children, in many cases, are forced to work hard for periods of up to 80 to 100 hours per week, in hazardous working conditions that threaten their safety,” the foundation added.
According to the study, thousands of children from neighboring African countries are trafficked to Côte d’Ivoire to work in agriculture, and are forced to live under “unfair working conditions, inadequate food, and exposure to physical violence or threats, especially if they try to escape.”
“Moreover, the study discovered that a large number of children on West African farms work for free,” the foundation continued.
Last May, a group of UN human rights experts welcomed the adoption of the “Durban Call to Action” aimed at eliminating child labour.
The experts said in a statement that the Durban appeal “underlines the need for urgent action in this regard, given that the Corona pandemic and armed conflicts, as well as food and humanitarian crises and climate change, all threaten the progress made over the past years in order to address and end child labor.” .
“We are deeply concerned that millions of children will soon be forced into labour, which could seriously endanger their physical and mental health,” the statement added.
** Control of child labor
It is noteworthy that some European companies in Africa have started, as an international goal set for the year 2025, to activate a monitoring system called (CLMRS) to prevent child labor and address this problem in the communities associated with cocoa production operations.
Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, announced a new plan to address the risk of child labor in cocoa production.
The Swedish company said last January that 159,783 children in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have so far received support through this monitoring system.
For its part, the American chocolate company “Hershey” began activating the (CLMRS) system in 2021, and it has been applied to 102,942 children so far.
According to the company, 1,899 children have stopped doing inappropriate actions, as a result of implementing the system.