Here’s an update on what’s currently happening in Europe around the chocolate industry, thanks to Antoinie, STOP THE TRAFFIK Netherlands:
Last week Thursday, Tulane University published their latest report on trafficking and the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry of West Africa. The findings were shocking, to say the least. They had done a new research among kids that had worked in the cocoa industry of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. All of the kids they spoke to who had worked in cocoa had been the victims of the worst forms of child labour. From the kids that came from Mali, two thirds had been trafficked. From the kids that came from Burkina Faso almost three quarters had been trafficked.
The issue of child trafficking in cocoa is still very much alive.
What makes this report so surprising, is that Tulane University was hired by the industry to report on progress. So this is not a critical group of NGO’s that are claiming this, this is actually commissioned by the people receiving the flack. In fact, the report states that all the current initiatives are nowhere near enough to end child trafficking and other worst forms of child labour in cocoa production.
Coincidentally, the day after the report was released, a whole bunch of European charities and industry were at a conference. So we got everybody together, including the big companies, to talk about what the next steps are. It is clear that industry needs to step up their effort, and it is clear that NGO’s worldwide need to step up their call for change. The discussions with industry will continue, but we need to see change. And we need to see it quickly.
A first step that we made as NGO’s was to make a European wide press release, which has been picked up in various countries. In Holland, where I work, we saw it on most of the major news portals, it was discussed on radio, and we even got some pretty critical questions asked in Parliament. These are just first steps, though. There are too many children still being trafficked, there are too few things done to change it at the moment.
We’ll continue to keep the pressure on the companies, who are making billions of dollars each year, to really start making a difference!
Keep an eye out for the next exciting phase of our Chocolate Campaign to see soon at www.stopthetraffik.org/chocolate