ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Child Slave Labour And Chocolate

with 4 comments

A recent Panorama programme showed that the problem of child slave labour is still very much with us, and that the chocolate eaten by people in Britain might have also played a part:

“In an investigation into the supply chain that delivers much of the chocolate sold in the UK – more than half a million tonnes a year – the BBC found evidence of human trafficking and child slave labour.

Panorama also found that there is no guarantee, despite safeguards, even with chocolate marketed as Fairtrade, that child labour – as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – has not been involved in the supply chain.

Together, Ghana and Ivory Coast produce 60% of the world’s cocoa. More than 10m people survive off the industry.
In a village in Ghana, Kenyon met 12-year-old Ouare Fatao Kwakou, who was sold to traffickers by his uncle and taken from neighbouring and impoverished Burkina Faso to work as a cocoa picker.

More than a year later, he had not been paid a penny for his work – the profits of his labour going instead to his new cocoa masters and to the uncle who sold him.

In the port city of San Pedro in Ivory Coast, Kenyon posed as a trader and sold on cocoa beans which had been produced by the worst forms of child labour.

It is at this point where the traceability of the cocoa ends and it can be sold on to major chocolate makers worldwide who cannot say how it was sourced.”

Written by modernityblog

06/04/2010 at 14:22

4 Responses

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  1. I think there are actually two separate issues here: child labour, and slave labour.

    Child labour is simply a product of poverty. We had it in the UK less than 100 years ago. As people get richer, the returns to child labour will diminish. But the solution is not to try to stop it – that will simply impoverish people further.

    Slave labour, on the other hand, is outrageous.

    I think that it’s important to differentiate. Otherwise we mis-prescribe solutions.

    P

    07/04/2010 at 08:39

  2. Thanks for that.

    modernityblog

    13/04/2010 at 12:53

  3. To which one of us?

    P

    13/04/2010 at 16:32


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