Getting accurate statistics is difficult, and different sources use different numbers. What is essential is the fact that the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have recognized the issue and have enacted “national plans” to address labor issues, to enforce existing laws and to rescue potentially exploited children.
Labor practices on cocoa farms in West Africa are a recognized issue, with too many children participating in hazardous farming tasks or working at the expense of attending school. The claims made in the media that chocolate products are made by “child slaves” are a misrepresentation of the facts and also culturally insensitive, since the vast majority of children are living with their families or relatives. In rare instances, children may work on cocoa farms having travelled away from their parents or immediate family. We believe that no child should ever be harmed in the process of growing or harvesting cocoa.
At Barry Callebaut, we strongly believe the no child should be harmed in the process of growing or harvesting cocoa and that human trafficking is totally inacceptable in any form.