Australian Snack Company Agrees to Source “Ethical” Cocoa

Arnott’s ensure Tim Tams are free from child labour
[source: AFN Thought for Food]

by Josette Dunn

World Vision Australia today welcomed Arnott’s announcement that it will source ethical cocoa that has not been made with the use of child labour for all of its chocolate-based products, including the iconic Tim Tam biscuit.

In response to a public campaign by World Vision earlier this year, Arnott’s said on 30 March that it was “committed to playing its part by sourcing sustainable cocoa that avoids the use of child trafficking and unacceptable forms of child labour” by the “end September 2010″.

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US Waives Child Soldier Penalties in 4 Nations

By AP / Kristen Gelineau

(WASHINGTON) — In a move criticized by human rights organizations, the Obama administration has decided to exempt Yemen and three other countries that use child soldiers from U.S. penalties under the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act.

In a memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama said he had determined that “it is in the national interest of the United States” to waive application of the law to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Yemen. He instructed Clinton to submit the decision to the Congress with a written justification for the move.(See pictures of child soldiers around the world.)

Obama’s memo, released by the White House on Monday, did not include the justification. Administration officials have said, however, that cutting off military aid to those four countries as required by the law would do more harm than good. And they have said that continuing close cooperation with them can be a more effective way of changing their practices.

Jo Becker, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, said Obama had supported the legislation when he was in the Senate.

“This is a ground breaking law,” she said. “This is the first year it has taken effect and he’s undercutting it.”

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Don’t be tricked by Halloween treats


Read the original article here.

By Charita L. Castro and Jialan Wang |

Children all over America will participate in trick-or-treating festivities this Halloween. Babies not even a year old will be squeezed into peas in a pod, little boys will transform into Ben 10, and tweens will prove that Hannah Montana is forever. Most parents will consider the security of the neighborhood and the safety of the candy received, but few of us will give any thought about how the 90 million pounds of chocolate candy given out this Halloween was made, who made it and under what conditions.

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Convention on the Rights of the Child

193 countries have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The United States has not.


New Attention Given to Child Cocoa Workers in Ivory Coast and Ghana

25 October 2010
Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast
Photo: AP

Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast

Or download MP3 (Right-click or option-click and save link)

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and more than half of those beans come from two countries in West Africa. But the situation is not all sweetness for poor cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast and neighboring Ghana. The United States has announced ten million dollars for renewed efforts to end the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa industry in those countries.

The grant will support efforts to reduce poverty so parents do not have to depend on the labor of their children. Another aim is to give children more access to education.

The money will go toward a new “Framework of Action” related to an international agreement from two thousand one. That agreement is called the Harkin-Engel Protocol. American Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Elliott Engel led negotiations with the chocolate and cocoa industries.

The Department of Labor announced the grant in September, along with seven million dollars promised by the international cocoa industry. The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast have also promised resources and policy support for the new efforts.

Kevin Willcutts is an official in the Labor Department’s Office of Child Labor.

KEVIN WILLCUTTS: “We’re at a point in time when we think we have a real opportunity because with the signing of this joint declaration, the parties are coming together and saying that we share a common commitment to address the situation and to offer children better hope for the future through education.”

Daan de Vries is with Utz Certified, a program that tries to create a fair marketplace for agricultural products. Mr. de Vries says some crops are grown closer to cities because they must be processed quickly.

But he says crops like cocoa and coffee are often grown in very rural areas with more poverty and less enforcement of rules.

Bama Athreya directs the International Labor Rights Forum.

BAMA ATHREYA: “There’s been a real unwillingness to act that I think is driven by the business proposition of getting cheap child labor to produce the cocoa for quite some time. And that is a major challenge.”

Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association in Washington, represented industry groups at the launch of the framework. He said “Our industry is fully committed to helping even more cocoa farming families through this innovative partnership.”

Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa grower. But the country has been split in half since a failed overthrow in two thousand two led to armed conflict. A long-delayed presidential election is set for this Sunday.

And that’s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson, with Drew Hinshaw reporting from Senegal. I’m Bob Doughty.

Find this article at:


Interesting Sites

Some interesting web sites on child labor, child trafficking, and safe work for youth [please check CLC member links in our “Coalition Members” category in our “About Us” section]:

Child Labor History:

Check out these child labor photos from the past.

Child Labor Reports [many other reports can be found in our “documents” button on the right side of this page]:

CRS Report Examines U.S. Child Labor: History, Recent Policy Initiatives, Legislation.
The history of domestic child labor is examined in four periods of U.S. history, from the late 19th century through the 111th Congress ending in 2010, in a new report released Jan. 4, 2011 by the Congressional Research Service.

In December 2010, DOL released three reports on child labor and/or forced labor in foreign countries. Included in the release is the newly redesigned, ninth annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, a report mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 that provides information on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. This year’s report highlights the major findings related to each government’s efforts and includes country-specific suggestions for government action to combat these problems.

DOL also released ILAB’s update to its List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor, which is mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. The update adds 6 new goods and 12 new countries for a total of 128 goods from 70 countries that ILAB has reason to believe are produced by forced labor, child labor or both, in violation of international standards.

DOL released ILAB’s proposed revision to the current List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor pursuant to Executive Order 13126 of 1999. The proposed revision removes one product from the list and adds another, for a total of 29 products from 21 countries.

Accelerating action against child labour – ILO Global report on child labour 2010

Tulane University’s 2010 Report on Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in West Africa.

Child Labor Education & Advocacy Sites:

The International Labour Organization’s International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour pursues policies and programs to reduce child labor around the world.

Media Voices for Children. Check out this Internet news agency for children’s rights for amazing videos, photos, personal stories, news, and opinion.

Human Rights Watch is working to ameliorate abusive child labor in many countries around the world.

The International Labor Rights Forum works to provide just and humane treatment for workers and works to protect children from exploitative labor around the world.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s humanitarian relief work for children in 150 countries through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.

Goodweave works to eliminate illegal child labor in the carpet industry and increase educational opportunities in South Asia. Check out this unique product labeling system.

The American Federation of Teachers actively promotes educational opportunities around the world and works to reduce child labor.

The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs works to protect child farmworkers from exemptions in U.S. child labor law.

The International Initiative to End Child Labor
strives to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the U.S. and around the world.

The Solidarity Center, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, works to build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent, and democratic unions.

Child Labor Public Education Project is associated with the University of Iowa labor center. The site provides an overview of the child labor and its history.

View child labor photos taken by Lewis Hines and read about the history of child labor advocacy in the U.S.

Child Labor First Person Accounts:

A Nigerian boy tells his story of domestic servitude.


ECPAT International-End Child Prostitution & Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes fights to help children to live free of child prostitution, child pornography, and child trafficking for sexual purposes.

Child Soldiers. Visit this link from World Vision for a description of the The Child Soldier Prevention Act which President Obama signed into law in January 2009.

Teen Worker Safety

Read what a teen worker can and cannot do at the government’s YouthRules web site. The site provides information for young workers in each of the fifty states.

New rules regarding child work by the U.S. Department of Labor (May, 2010)

Members of the public and safety advocates interested in agricultural safety for young workers should check out the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network. is a web site administered by the California Resource network for Young Worker’s Health and Safety. It contains tip sheets for young workers, their parents and employers on specific areas that include: auto repair, construction, field work, hotel cleaning, restaurants, retail and sexual harassment. Although designed for California residents, the tip sheets contain much advice for residents of other states that is useful.

Related Sites:

Follow the U.S. campaign for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Global Campaign for Education works to end the global crisis in education and provide children who work educational alternatives.


Children in the Fields

The Children in the Fields campaign strives to improve the quality of life of migrant and seasonal farmworker children by advocating for enhanced educational opportunities and the elimination of discriminatory federal child labor laws in agriculture.

Federal laws permit a child aged 13 to work in 100-degree heat in a strawberry field, but do not permit that child to work in an air-conditioned office. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) the legal age to perform most farm work is only 12 if a parent accompanies the working child. Children who are 14 or older can work unlimited hours in the fields before or after school hours. The same law requires a minimum age of 14 years for non-agricultural work and limits such work to 3 hours per day while school is in session.

Petitions by|Start a Petition »


Tulane Report Focuses Attention on Child Labor in Cocoa Industry

The Payson Center’s Report can be downloaded here:–Reid]

West African children still exploited to make chocolate

By Marco Chown Oved
Associated Press
Updated: 10/08/2010 09:06:06 AM CDT

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — West Africa’s cocoa industry is still trafficking children and using forced child labor despite nearly a decade of efforts to eliminate the practices, according to an independent audit published by Tulane University.

A U.S.-sponsored solution called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by cocoa industry members to identify and eliminate cocoa grown using forced child labor. A child-labor-free certification process was supposed to cover 50 percent of cocoa growing regions in West Africa by 2005 and 100 percent by the end of 2010. But independent auditors at Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development said in a late September report that efforts have not even come close to these targets.

“Hundreds of thousands of children are involved in work on cocoa farms,” the report said. Child trafficking for labor also continues virtually unabated as well, it said.

Thousands of children travel from impoverished neighboring countries to the cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, where some of them live in substandard conditions and receive little or no pay.

Research in border areas shows that only a tiny proportion of children in cocoa farming ever see a police officer on their way over the border, and that police officers are not properly trained to deal with such crossings. Almost none of the children have any contact with NGOs or anti-child-labor organizations while working.

The Harkin-Engel Protocol set up

community-based education and monitoring programs in Ivory Coast and Ghana — the world’s two largest cocoa growers — to improve the situation. The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), an industry funded organization charged with implementing the protocol, said because of the protocol thousands of children are no longer working in exploitative conditions on cocoa plantations in both countries.But industry efforts are “uneven” and “incomplete,” the report said. Less than three percent of cocoa growing villages have been visited by monitors in Ivory Coast and across the border in Ghana, only 13 percent of communities have been impacted by the program.

The Swiss non-governmental group Bern Declaration, which campaigns for fairness in international trade, said Tuesday that the study’s findings prove the existence of “the worst forms of child labor on West African cocoa plantations and the fact that efforts to date by the chocolate industry to prevent this have failed.”

The Ivorian government admits that progress has been slower than anticipated, but points to several key advances.

“Last week, we passed a law prohibiting the worst forms of child labor,” said Mokie Sigui, head of the anti child labor taskforce at the Ministry of Labor. “Some infractions carry 20 year prison sentences.”

Sigui said the government is building two youth centers in cocoa growing regions where exploited children can be identified and then put back into school.

Manufacturers in the chocolate industry have also set up projects to help keep kids in schools and off the plantations, but the poverty of many families in West Africa makes it impossible for them to pass up the temptation to send their children to work.

“We need to help improve the social and economic situation there so that people can help themselves,” said Franz Schmid, spokesman for the Association of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers, Chocosuisse. He also said that cocoa companies need to know where raw materials come from.

Several international certification bodies are currently working to certify sustainable cocoa farms across the region. Though only four percent of the world’s cocoa is now considered sustainable, that figure is projected to rise to over 40 percent by 2020.

The British chocolate bar Galaxy became the first to use 100 percent sustainable cocoa earlier this year, and it should soon be followed by several others. In the Netherlands, the government signed a pledge with chocolate manufacturers to offer only sustainable chocolate countrywide by 2025.

In the U.S., only Kraft has plans to carry chocolate labeled as certified sustainable, but the world’s biggest buyer of cocoa, the American company Mars, has pledged to purchase only sustainable cocoa by 2020.

Swiss chocolate makers such as Nestle and Barry Callebaut — whose chocolate is found in one in four cocoa and chocolate products worldwide — didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Despite best efforts, the product certification approach is always going to be flawed, said Frank Bremer, director of the German development agency GTZ in Abidjan. GTZ discontinued its projects in cocoa growing communities in Ivory Coast in 2009.

“With 700,000 to 800,000 small family farms in Ivory Coast, trying to guarantee the origin of each individual cocoa bean is virtually impossible,” he said.

While millions are spent on labeling and certification, he said, “no one has been working with the victims of this practice — the children.”

Another part of the problem is misappropriated funding. The ICI reports having spent $14.5 million since 2001, but the auditors could find only $5.5 million spent in programming on the ground. The cocoa industry would have to spend 42.5 times more in Ivory coast to abate the problem in 100 percent of cocoa growing communities, it said.

In September, the original sponsors of the protocol, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), pledged an additional $10 million to the program, urging those involved to redouble efforts.

Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Geneva contributed to this report.


10 Years Later: West Africa Children Still Exploited To Make Chocolate

| 10/ 8/10 08:09 AM | AP

[From Huffington Post

— A report says West Africa’s cocoa industry is still trafficking children and using forced child labor despite nearly a decade of efforts to eliminate the practices.

A U.S.-sponsored solution called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by cocoa industry members to identify and eliminate cocoa grown using forced child labor in West Africa by 2010.

Independent auditors at Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development said in a late September report that efforts have not come close to the target.

The report says that hundreds of thousands of children are still involved in work on cocoa farms, and are trafficked to Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s two largest cocoa growers.


“Bitter” Chocolate: New Report on Child Labor in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana Offers Further Evidence that Hershey, Cocoa Industry, Are Failing

Thu Sep 30, 5:02 pm ET

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 –

New Tulane University Report Indicates That Egregious Labor Rights Violations Persist In the Cocoa Sector; In Response, Groups Call On Hershey To Adopt Fair Trade Certification for Its Chocolate.WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University released its fourth annual report on Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.  The report underscores the lack of progress that is being made by voluntary programs adopted by the cocoa industry to address the problems of child and forced labor in West Africa.  In response, national nonprofits Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA called on Hershey, the largest US chocolate company, to take action to end child and forced labor in its supply chain and to adopt Fair Trade Certified cocoa.

The report identifies the ongoing exploitation of labor rights in the cocoa sector including the worst forms of child labor, forced labor and trafficking.  New research related to the trafficking of young workers from Burkina Faso and Mali found that:

  • Cote d’Ivoire is the predominant destination for trafficked and migrant cocoa workers;
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents moved to cocoa farms without their natural parents or guardians;
  • Virtually all respondents experienced the worst forms of child labor including: verbal, physical and sexual harassment and restrictions of their freedom of movement;
  • Virtually all respondents performed hazardous work including land clearing and burning, carrying heavy loads, spraying pesticides, and using machetes, among other dangerous activities.

In response to the Tulane Report, Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA stated: “It is clear from this report that the cocoa industry is not doing enough to address these problems. The world’s largest chocolate manufacturers must do more to monitor their supply chains to combat child labor, forced labor and human trafficking.  The Payson Center’s report recommends that companies institute traceability systems for their cocoa supply chains starting at or near the farm level and work with product certification schemes, which no longer represent a niche market.  All of the certification programs operating in the West African cocoa sector should be reviewed to ensure that they appropriately identify and address child labor issues.  The report identifies major industry actors that have made commitments in this area, including Mars, Kraft, Nestle and Cargill.”Hershey stands out as the only major chocolate company missing from the list. The recent report “Time to Raise the Bar: the Real CSR Report for the Hershey Company” (issued by Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA) found that the Hershey corporation was the laggard in the cocoa industry regarding monitoring its supply chain.  The report also found that Hershey lacked transparency and traceability when it came to its cocoa sourcing, as well as meaningful programs to address labor violations in the cocoa-growing communities of West Africa, from where it sources.  As the dominant chocolate company in the US, the report calls on Hershey to “Raise the Bar” and adopt Fair Trade Certification for its best selling bar by 2012, and all of its top selling chocolate products by 2022.”

The Payson Center’s Report can be downloaded here:

“Time to Raise the Bar: The Real CSR Report for the Hershey Company” is available at the following websites:

Green America:

International Labor Rights Forum:

Oasis USA:


GLOBAL EXCHANGE is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.

GREEN AMERICA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.

OASIS USA is a non-profit organization committed to developing communities where everyone is included, making a contribution, and reaching their God-given potential.

SOURCE Green America, Washington, DC


Southern Sudan to purge child soldiers from army

By Maggie Fick
Associated Press Writer / August 30, 2010

JUBA, Sudan—The government of Southern Sudan said Monday it will purge child soldiers from the ranks of its former rebel army by year’s end, a policy change that could see thousands of young troops pushed out of the military.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army launched a new “Child Protection Department” intended to help the army fulfill an agreement it signed with the United Nations in November. The agreement commits the army to release all children in its ranks by the end of the year and to end the use of child soldiers across Southern Sudan.

The U.N. Children’s Fund estimates that about 900 children serve as soldiers in the south. The southern military did not say how many child soldiers it believes it has, but the chief of staff indicated it was several thousand.

Oil-rich Southern Sudan is widely expected to vote for independence from northern Sudan in a scheduled January referendum, an outcome likely to lead to the breakup of Africa’s largest country.

The 2005 peace accord that ended decades of war between Sudan’s north and south committed the armies to an extensive demobilization process. But because both armies are preparing for worst-case scenarios as the southern vote nears, analysts say neither side has an interest in reducing the size of their militaries.

Still, southern officials say they will completely purge the ranks of children. William Deng Deng, chairman of the south’s Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, said the army has “never wavered in its commitment to children,” recalling how children recruited into the guerrilla army during the civil war received schooling along with their military training.

“I want to confirm that the generals are doing what they can to make sure that the SPLA by the end of this year is child-free,” said Deng. “Any child that comes back is a child who came back from the village because we couldn’t offer them anything to do.”

Deng said that responsibility lies with the government to provide schooling and other services for demobilized children, but he was firm that the army would never again recruit children.

“This army doesn’t lack manpower. If they wanted they could call millions now. But not children,” he said.

Southern Sudan is one of the poorest places in the world. More than half of the population requires food assistance to survive. The southern government is likely a long way off from providing its people with alternatives to life in the army.

“All of us here we were born in war,” said southern army Chief of Staff Gen. James Hoth Mai. “And we don’t want to pass on this war again to our children. We are very committed to develop our children.”

Mai said that providing schooling and other services to demobilized children is “a huge task.”

“We are talking about thousands and thousands of children,” he said.

The U.N.’s top humanitarian official in Southern Sudan said the task of transforming a rebel movement into a professional army is “a long road.”

“The way in which a country’s army operates is a reflection of the country itself,” said Lise Grande. She added that the “the entire world community is looking at Southern Sudan” in the run-up to the referendum.



The proportion of children who live in countries that have not yet ratified ILO Convention 182 (on the worst forms of child labor) or Convention 138 (on the minimum age): 1 in 3