Sunday, April 08, 2007

Child Cocoa Workers are Being Exploited

Source: Child cocoa workers still 'exploited' -

In the Ivory Coast area of Africa, which produces half of the world's cocoa, children are being forced to work in the cocoa fields. Many of these children do not attend school and many have been taken away from their families. Additionally, a great number of these children suffer from machete wounds (which they suffered while cutting the cocoa), that have gone untreated.

In 2001 the chocolate producers had promised to begin eradicating forced child labor, but did not meet their initial deadline of 2005, and were therefore given until 2008. With that date quickly approaching the patcience of the US Congress and others is running thin.

It is expected that next year Congress will draft harsh legislation against the global chocolate industry unless some serious progress is made in ending forced child labor. However, the chocolate industry points to schools which have been constructed as proof of their dedication to the solving of this problem. One school in particular, which is in village of Petit Yammousoukro, was given as an example of such dedication. However, the school was just built this January, more than five years after the cocoa protocol was enacted, and it consists of mud walls, a straw roof and an opening in one of the walls that is meant to serve as a window.


What type of sanctions should the United States Congress institute against the chocolate producers in order to end the forced labor of children?

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