These images show victims of child labor in Côte d'Ivoire who are harvesting cocoa in the supply chain of Cargill, a massive US-based corporation that sells cocoa to retail brands including Nestle. Human rights lawyers took these photos while meeting with victims to prepare legal action against the exploitative cocoa industry. Courtesy of IRAdvocates, 2019.

What's happening?

  • Cocoa, primarily harvested in West Africa, is the basis for chocolate.

  • Shockingly, the cocoa industry exploits an estimated 1,560,000 child laborers who are producing and harvesting cocoa in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana for global corporations. 95% of these children are engaged in hazardous work, and some have been trafficked from Mali and Burkina Faso and then enslaved.

  • Though the global cocoa industry explicitly promised in 2001 to stop using child labor when they signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol, there has been no substantive progress and the situation is getting worse.

  • In response to a recent lawsuit filed by eight formerly enslaved children against Nestle, Mars, Hershey, Mondelez, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, and Olam, the companies filed a motion to dismiss in which they outrageously claim that they are no more responsible for child labor in their cocoa supply chains than retailers and consumers (p. 11 of the motion). They also claim that they lack sufficient knowledge of the issue to be liable (pp. 23-25).

What can you do?

  • Greater public pressure is necessary for child labor and slavery to end in the cocoa industry. Please help by using your creative skills and influence to encourage your followers from around the world to get involved in necessary advocacy.

  • We need to call out cocoa manufacturers and demand that they only use fair labor practices and pay a fair price to their cocoa farmers rather than starvation prices that are at the root of the child slavery issue.

  • You can contact the "Big Chocolate" companies directly and let them know that you will NOT buy their chocolate until they start respecting basic human rights. Here are links to the relevant companies' contact pages: Mars/M&M, The Hershey Company, Cargill, Nestle, Barry Callebaut, Mondelez, and Olam.

  • By raising awareness about how cocoa is supplied, we can unite consumers of cocoa to pressure companies to substantively improve labor conditions.


#BloodCocoa #StopCocoaSlavery #EndChildLabor

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Please contribute to our efforts to end child slavery via International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates), the organization that is currently taking legal action against the cocoa companies that are knowingly profiting from child labor, trafficking, and slavery in their supply chains. IRAdvocates supports global advocacy to protect children's rights and end modern-day slavery. You can donate online here or mail a check to 621 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002.