Key Documents on Abusive Child Labor and Slavery in Cocoa

Child labor exposed in cocoa in 2000-2:


Voluntary industry initiative to end the worst forms of child labor:

In 2001, after legislation for a mandatory slave-free label passed the House of Representatives, industry instead agreed to voluntarily end the worst forms of child labor in cocoa by July 1, 2005 in the Harkin Engel Protocol.

When industry failed to meet the deadline, it extended the deadline to July, 2008 and committed to ending the worst forms of child labor on only 50% of farms in Cote D'Ivoire and Ghana in this statement.

In 2005, Global Exchange published this critique of the Protocol: The News on Chocolate is Bittersweet.

Evidence that industry is on target to miss the Protocol deadline once again in 2008: This report, commissioned by the US Department of State, shows that industry is on target to miss the deadline again, saying that industry's definition of certification is "a misnomer":

Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer Tulane University.

Global Exchange also critiqued industry's approach to certification in this Common Dreams op-ed: Tainted Love? Chocolate Lovers: Cocoa Industry Set to Be a Heartbreaker on July 1, 2008 June 27, 2008

Another op-ed in Common Dreams from Global Exchange: New Report Released on Valentine's Day Eve: Chocolate and Heartache? February 14, 2009

On February 14, 2008 Christian Parenti reported from the Ivory Coast cocoa fields, in Fortune Magazine: “Today child workers, many under the age of 10, are everywhere”: Chocolate's bittersweet economy

BBC has reported on this situation regularly since the time of the first media exposes: BBC news

In 2010, The Dark Side of Chocolate, a documentary by Miki Misrati and U Roberto Romano, unveiled the continued use of child and forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa fields: Dark Side of Chocolate

Response by concerned organizations: Global Exchange and other leaders in cocoa industry reform developed the following Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing, which lays out an alternative that will bring real reform and an end to abusive child labor in the cocoa industry:


Momentum is now building for major chocolate brand to start sourcing Fair Trade cocoa beans, following the lead of Fair Trade companies like Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, Divine, Sweet Earth, and Coco-Zen which have long demonstrated that a way to address the child labor problem is already available through Fair Trade. The following mainstream chocolate manufacturers have announced that they will seek to achieve Fair Trade certification:


The Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign (a coalition of advocacy groups, including Global Exchange), is challenging Hershey's to take the lead in going Fair Trade in the United States.

Time to Raise the Bar: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company

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