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10 Facts About the Latest Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas from Tulane University:

[On July 30, 2015, Tulane University researchers released their latest study — “Survey Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas”– we present highligths here written and compiled by Mary Donovan, contributing writer to the CLC.]

  1. Child labor in cocoa production in West Africa is increasing. The total numbers of children in cocoa production, child labor in cocoa production, and hazardous work by children in cocoa production in West Africa all increased from 2009/10 to 2013/14. In 2013/14 there were 2,260,407 children working in cocoa production in West Africa. 1,303,009 of those children work in Cote d’Ivoire and 957,398 work in Ghana.
  1. A plan to eliminate child labor in the industry exists. Fifteen years ago, representatives of the international cocoa industry signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol “to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sectors of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.” The Protocol provides a framework for accountability and outlines action steps. The Ministers of Labor from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire signed a Declaration of Joint Action to support the implementation of the Protocol in 2010. In spite of this initiative, child labor in cocoa production in West Africa has increased.
  1. Cote d’Ivoire experienced an especially large growth. The numbers of children working in cocoa production increased by 59%, the number of children doing child labor in cocoa production increased by 48%, and the number of children doing hazardous work in cocoa production grew by 46%. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producer.
  1. The number of children working in cocoa production fell slightly in Ghana.
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Ghana Police Rescue 116 Children from Forced Labor

ACCRA, Ghana—Ghanaian police say they have rescued 116 children who were forced into child labor in the country’s Volta Lake area.

Human Trafficking Unit leader Superintendent Patience Quaye said Friday that police found parents in fishing communities who had sold children as young as four years old for sums as low as 150 Ghana cedis — about $100.

Quaye says child labor is a widespread problem in the West African nation. She says police rescued 284 children in a similar operation last year.

Interpol, which worked with Ghanaian police, said the operation earlier this month led to 28 arrests and convictions.

Interpol also said they conducted a separate operation in the capital, Accra, that rescued 29 minors who had been trafficked into the sex industry.… Read the rest

Burkina Faso: Texting to Help Domestic Workers

Ouagadougou — Naba Wangré, manager of the child labour project at the Burkina Faso Red Cross, sends bluntly worded text messages to government officials, employers, traditional leaders, teachers, business owners and housewives several times a year, trying to reduce the widespread exploitation of domestic workers by raising awareness of their rights.

“Employers: domestics have the same rights as your children. Stop under-paying them; stop subjecting them to mistreatment, sexual violence, and long hours”, said a recent SMS from Wangré, who uses lists of phone numbers provided by the local network. Read more

Forgotten in the Shadows of War

By Cassandra Clifford

Female child combatants are overlooked both in the media, as well as in the rehabilitation process.  All too often, female child soldiers are also expected to perform sexual services for older male soldiers; in many countries of conflict, girls in armed forces are claimed by militia leaders as “wives.”

The use of child soldiers in armed conflict plagues our global society, as thousands of children continue to be recruited into armed conflict by both government forces and armed rebel groups in spite global efforts to combat the continued use of children. UNICEF estimates there are some 300,000 child soldiers actively fighting in at least 30 countries across the globe with the majority, an estimated 200,000 in Africa. According to PE Singers book, Children at War, he estimates that 43 percent of all armed organizations in the world use child soldiers, 90 percent of whom see combat. Read more