As Easter approaches and sales of chocolate increase, so does concern about the ongoing problem of child labour in the cocoa industry. Recent programs in Switzerland, Germany and Denmark have taken a closer look at the cocoa industry and where our chocolate comes from. This week, a documentary called, “The Dark Side of Chocolate” premiered on Danish television on 16 March and it investigated the continued allegations of trafficking of children and child labour in the international cocoa industry. Also this week, in Germany, a current affairs program examined the use of child labor in the cocoa industry in Côte d’Ivoire. In light of this recent media attention, which has included some positive coverage of Fairtrade, FLO would like to take the opportunity to address the ongoing reality of child labour in the cocoa industry and explain what we in the Fairtrade movement have been doing to increase our own efforts to combat it. Scope of the problem We agree that there has not been enough progress towards the eradication of child labour in the past ten years. It is an unacceptable fact that children around the world are being employed and exploited, forced to work in abusive and dangerous conditions when they should be at school or on playgrounds. Children are bought, sold and traded within and across national borders. Those who live in abject poverty are especially vulnerable.
* An estimated 218 million children are involved in work around the world.
* 126 million work under the worst forms of child labour.
* More than one million children are employed in the cocoa farming sector in West Africa.
* Between 200,000 and 800,000 children under the age of 18 are trafficked each year in West Africa alone.
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