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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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Don’t be tricked by Halloween treats

[from STLToday.com:]

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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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

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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.”… Read the rest

Tulane Report Focuses Attention on Child Labor in Cocoa Industry

The Payson Center’s Report can be downloaded here: http://childlabor-payson.org–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.

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