Today’s blog entry is going to be a two dimensional one. It shall bring both good news and bad news to the masses. So, as is traditional, the good news first: Last week, an Interpol led operation in the West African cocoa growing countries of Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire published its results. The operation was aimed at freeing forced child labourers working on cocoa plantations. So the good news: THE OPERATION FREED 54 CHILDREN! That’s excellent news, so raise a glass dear blog readers because 54 children (of 7 nationalities) are now free and will be reunited with their families, which is great, really, really great.
Now for the bad news: there are thousands of trafficked, enslaved children working in Cote d’Ivoire. So, I suppose we can now say it’s now 54 less. I don’t mean to sound negative because this really is a big step forward and it proves the commitment of major international agencies to fighting trafficking, which is, as I say, a good thing. But just listen to some of the information Interpol were able to gather from the operation:
“The children had been bought by plantation owners needing cheap labour to harvest the cocoa plantations. They were discovered working under extreme conditions, forced to carry massive loads seriously jeopardizing their health. Aged between 11 and 16, children told investigators they would regularly work 12 hours a day and receive no salary or education. Girls were usually purchased as house maids and would work a seven-day week all year round, often in addition to their duties in the plantations.”
This is horrible, cruel and demeaning, and the major responsibility for trafficking into the cocoa industry and this blatant slavery lies with the major chocolate manufacturers. They are the ones who have the power. If they pay a fair price for cocoa, and ensure that traffic free chocolate is the norm from their suppliers, then this problem can be beaten
Read the article here: