It’s estimated that around 2 million children in Ghana and Ivory Coast are involved in dangerous labour processes for the production of cocoa. This problem is particularly rife in agricultural areas of the countries where the number has increased to 44% of children (2019) from 31% in 2009.
This is despite the cost of cocoa increasing from $2,200 per tonne to $2,600 per tonne over the same time period. Huge cocoa companies have pledged to actually reduce the number of children involved in production, but the number has actually increased.
Poverty is the main cause of child labour in cocoa production, and experts warn that the price paid to farmers for cocoa needs to increase.
But how can we help?
Fairtrade chocolate ensures that farmers are better paid, which should mean better working conditions and that their children don’t have to work, and can attend school instead.
One brand, Tony’s Chocolonely, is on a mission to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate production. They were founded by Dutch journalist, Teun van de Keuken, who in 2001 launched an investigation into illegal child labour and modern slavery on cocoa farms in West Africa. He discovered that the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers were buying cocoa from plantations that used illegal child labour and modern slavery.
Since then they have been leading by example, building direct long-term relationships with cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, paying them a higher price for their cacao beans and working alongside them to solve the underlying causes of modern slavery.
He has been seeking to raise awareness about the inequality in the chocolate industry ever since. This week, the company launched its first brand video, narrated by Idris Elba. It’s aim is to again raise awareness of the fight against systematic inequality and exploitation in the chocolate industry.
You can view the brand video here.
Brand ambassador Idris Elba had this to say, “Being an Englishman who is the son of a Ghanaian mother and a Sierra Leonian father, I am all too aware of the shocking inqualities between the West and Africa. It’s an honour for me to voice Tony’s powerful manifesto against exploitation and I see this collaboration as a first step to doing more impactful work together.”
Do you want to help make a difference? Sign the petition so Tony’s can petition governments in UK, US and the EU to enforce serious consequences for those who break the slavery laws.