Tag Archive for: Ghana


U.S.DOL News Release: U.S. Department of Labor Announces 2024 Iqbal Masih Award Winners; Recipients in Egypt, Ghana Lauded for Contributions to End Child Labor

News Release/June 5, 2024 [from USDOL]

Wadi El Nil Association, Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe recognized for stellar efforts

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the recipients of the 2024 Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor, presented annually to recognize exceptional efforts by an individual, company, organization or national government to end the worst forms of child labor.

The recipients are an Egyptian civil society organization, Wadi El Nil Association and a leading trade unionist in Ghana, Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe.

“The recipients of the 2024 Iqbal Masih Award are champions in the fight against child labor,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “Their unwavering efforts and achievements in the ongoing campaign to eliminate child labor have rescued children from the dangers of hazardous work and created economic opportunities for families to help derail the cycle of child labor in Egypt and Ghana.”

A pivotal force in combating child labor in Egypt’s limestone mining sector for more than two decades, Wadi El Nil Association rescues children from hazardous quarries, offering them pathways to education and skills development. The association seeks to break the connection between poverty and the cycle of child labor by providing microloans to families to help them to achieve economic stability. In recent years, Wadi El Nil has extended additional support to vulnerable families and collaborated with community organizations and volunteers to reduce the impact that the pandemic had on families in need.

As Deputy General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union of the Ghana Trade Union Congress, Tagoe has played a significant role in advancing child and workers’ rights and been a powerful force in the country’s efforts to end child labor in the agricultural industry. By organizing and formalizing the agricultural economy in rural areas and working with communities to eliminate child labor, Tagoe has helped thousands of children move from child labor into school. His passionate and effective advocacy has helped to create a strong network of anti-child labor champions in Ghana and beyond.

A non-monetary award established in 2008 by Congress, the Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor is presented each year by the Secretary of Labor. The award honors its namesake, a Pakistani child sold into slavery at age four to work a carpet weaver. After escaping at age 10, Masih became an outspoken public advocate against child exploitation. Two years later in his native Pakistan, he was killed tragically. Iqbal Masih was 12 years old.

Learn more about the award and past recipients.

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
June 5, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Christine Feroli

“Last Week Tonight” with HBO’s John Oliver takes aim at rampant child labor in the production of chocolate

Chocolate: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) [Aired 10/30/2023].

Watch here:



Global Civil Society Statement on Child Labour in Cocoa, June 12th, 2021

Today, June 12th, is the International Day against Child Labour. On this day, as a large group of civil society organisations working on human rights in the cocoa sector across the world, we urgently call on chocolate & cocoa companies and governments to start living up to decades-old promises. The cocoa sector must come with ambitious plans to develop transparent and accountable solutions for current and future generations of children in cocoa communities.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the chocolate industry’s promise to end child labour in the cocoa sector of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, a commitment they made under the 2001 Harkin-Engel Protocol and renewed again with the 2010 Framework of Action. Furthermore, it is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

This year should have been a landmark in the fight against child labour in cocoa. Instead, the cocoa sector as a whole has been conspicuously quiet on this topic.

Child labour is still a reality on West African cocoa farms, and there is strong evidence that forced labour continues in the sector as well. Recent reports – such as Ghana’s GLSS 7 survey and the study of the University of Chicago commissioned by the United States government – show that close to 1.5 million children are engaged in hazardous or age-inappropriate work on cocoa farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The vast majority of these child labourers are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, such as carrying heavy loads, working with dangerous tools, and increasing exposure to harmful agrochemicals.

After two decades of rhetoric, voluntary initiatives, and pilot projects, it is clearer than ever that ambitious, sector-wide action is needed, coupled with binding regulations, to address both child labour and the poverty that lies at its root.

These solutions must include regulations for mandatory human rights due diligence for companies operating in all major cocoa consuming countries, including avenues for legal remedy in those companies’ home countries. We note with interest the developments around regulations in the EU, although the announced delays are concerning. We also observe that the United States – the world’s number one cocoa consuming country – is particularly lagging in regulatory developments on this issue.

The industry, however, cannot use a lack of regulation as an excuse not to shoulder their own responsibility. As such, every chocolate and cocoa company should have a system in place that monitors and remediates child labour in all of their value chains with a child labour risk. The impact of these systems must be communicated publicly and transparently in a way that enables meaningful participation and access to remedy for workers and their representatives.

In parallel, effective partnerships between producer and consumer countries are needed to work on the necessary enabling environment. These must be developed in a much more inclusive manner than previous attempts, bringing in civil society organisations, independent trade unions, local communities, and farmer representatives. Adequate resources must be provided to enable these local actors to participate as equals in the development and implementation of solutions.

Child labour can only be effectively tackled if its root causes are also adequately addressed. As such, the cocoa sector must ensure that child labour approaches are deeply embedded into realistic and ambitious strategies to achieve a living income for all cocoa households. Such strategies must include the payment of fair and just remuneration at the farm gate; prices need to be sufficient to provide a living income. There are clear calculations available for Living Income Reference Prices, which are not even close to being met.

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New CLC Press Release: Chocolate Companies Must Do More to Reduce Widespread Child Labor Confirmed by New Report on the West African Cocoa Sector; Due Diligence Legislation is Needed to Fix Supply Chains

Chocolate Companies Must Do More to Reduce Widespread Child Labor Confirmed by New Report on the West African Cocoa Sector; Due Diligence Legislation is Needed to Fix Supply Chains


For immediate release: October 21, 2020

Contact: Reid Maki, Child Labor Coalition, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org 


Washington, DC – A new report out this week confirms that the chocolate industry’s deep dependence on child labor to produce cocoa, a main ingredient of chocolate, continues unabated in West Africa despite nearly two decades of interventions and manufacturers’ promises to end the worst forms of child labor. The  report confirms what advocates at the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which consists of 38 child rights groups, consumer groups, and worker rights organizations (including several of America’s largest unions), have been saying for years. According to the new study by the research group NORC at the University of Chicago, the prevalence of child labor in agricultural households in cocoa-producing areas in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the two primary sources of cocoa in the world, increased from 31 percent to 45 percent in the decade leading up to 2019.


The $3.5 million study, funded by U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), released earlier this week, confirms that rampant child labor still exists on Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa farms. Researchers also concluded that the vast majority of the child labor continues to be hazardous, with children using sharp tools like machetes, clearing land, carrying heavy loads, working long hours, conducting night work, and increasingly using pesticides and other agrochemicals—a major concern.


“The NORC report findings make clear that an industry that generates more than $100 billion per year in sales is doing far too little to address farmer poverty and child labor,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director at CLC-member Green America. “The industry needs to focus on paying a living income while also rapidly scaling up programs that identify child laborers and ensure that children are able to go to school.”


Child labor in cocoa became well known to the public and Congress in 2001 following news reports of child slavery in West Africa. With consumers outraged, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) attempted to mandate a child-labor-free product-labeling requirement, but the chocolate industry fought it. Engel and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) initiated a multi-stakeholder initiative called the Harkin-Engel Protocol, combining the efforts of the chocolate companies, West African governments, laborers, and nonprofits to combat the “worst forms of child labor” in the cocoa sector. Since this innovative initiative began, chocolate companies have missed deadlines set to eliminate child labor in 2005, 2008, and 2010. Another goal to reduce the “worst forms of child labor” by 70 percent by 2020, was also missed.


NORC interviewed samples of children and heads of agricultural households and extrapolated those results to find that 1.6 million children toiled on cocoa farms in the two countries in 2019—and most of those children performed hazardous work. Although 1.6 million would seem to compare favorably to the 2.1 million in child labor found in the last cocoa child labor survey in 2015 by Tulane University’s Payson Center, the NORC study totals are not comparable to the Tulane totals because of methodological differences.


“Survey findings show an increase in both child labor and hazardous child labor in cocoa production in the cocoa growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana between 2008/09 and 2018/19, while cocoa production increased significantly over the same period,” noted NORC. Report authors found that child labor and hazardous child labor was ‘stabilizing” in area of historically high cocoa production, which tended to be areas with greater company interventions aimed at reducing child labor. Child labor and hazardous child labor increased in areas of medium- or low-cocoa production areas, suggesting to researchers that more interventions should be targeted to these areas.


“It’s frustrating to see that there is basically no substantive progress in reducing child labor after two decades of companies pledging to end the problem,” said CLC co-chair Sally Greenberg and executive director of the National Consumers League. “It’s clear that companies need to commit more resources to combatting child labor. We must hold them accountable because they are the entities profiting from the child labor.”


“The fact that nearly half of the children aged 5-17 living in agricultural households in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are engaged in hazardous work in cocoa production demonstrates the failure of voluntary corporate initiatives under the Harkin-Engel Protocol, and the need for greater government regulation in consumer countries,” said Charlotte Tate, Labor Justice Campaigns Director at Green America, and chair of the CLC’s Cocoa Workgroup. 


“The NORC Report shows conclusively that “voluntary” initiatives like the Harkin-Engle Protocol, in which the cocoa companies pledged 19 years ago to end their use of child labor, have not worked,” agreed Terry Collingsworth of IRAdvocates, a CLC member and nonprofit litigation firm that is suing chocolate companies alleging the use of forced child labor. “Child slavery and subjecting children to the worst forms of child labor must end now. These serious human rights violations require mandatory rules with serious penalties, not empty promises from cocoa companies profiting from the exploitation of children.”


The NORC findings were not entirely negative: school enrollment continued to climb, and researchers found that child labor interventions showed evidence of reducing child labor (especially if there were multiple interventions or school-based initiatives).


“There is no turning away from the devastating news that hazardous child labor has actually increased in cocoa over the last decade, despite years of effort and millions of dollars spent,” noted CLC International Issues Committee chair Judy Gearhart. “Yet the significant increase in school attendance in Ivory Coast—22 percent in the Ivory Coast over the last 10 years—and continued high attendance rates in Ghana are a testament to cocoa farmers’ drive to give their children opportunities despite the continuing poverty that perpetuates their reliance on child labor.”


“We’re encouraged by the progress in getting children who work on West African cocoa farms into school,” said Lorretta Johnson, a CLC co-chair and secretary-treasurer emeritus of the American Federation of Teachers.  “We cannot rest, though, until every child is in school and we have ended the worst forms of child labor so that children who work now can focus on their education.”




In addition to better prices for cocoa farmers to help them achieve a living wage, the CLC also supports federal “due diligence” legislation that would require companies to remove labor exploitation like child labor from their supply chains when it is identified. The European Union has promised mandatory legislation in 2021. France passed due diligence legislation in 2017; other countries are working on it, but legislative efforts in the United States have been fleeting and have not advanced.


It’s critical that future cocoa child labor survey reports funded by DOL use consistent methodologies to fully evaluate whether progress is occurring. “Our inability to compare the NORC total of children in child labor in cocoa with Tulane’s is very unfortunate,” said Maki.  “The study also did not attempt to assess farmer income—of vital importance in addressing child labor.”


“The scope of the studies must be expanded,” added Maki.  “For mystifying reasons, The NORC study did not attempt to determine if children are trapped in forced labor or modern slavery. The researchers apparently were not given the mandate to look at forced labor and doing so would have required a different methodology says NORC.”


“NORC found that 6 percent of the children in cocoa—roughly 90,000 children—do not work for their parents or relatives. This could be an indication of children at risk of forced labor and should be investigated further,” noted the CLC’s Gearhart.


The Child Labor Coalition and its members seek greater participation in the development and release of future cocoa surveys. “Civil society would have appreciated the same level of consultation on the report methodology as was afforded to government and industry actors,” noted Charity Ryerson, the executive director of the Corporate Accountability Lab and a CLC member.


Another area not covered by the NORC report that deserves the public’s attention is deforestation. “Deforestation in cocoa-growing areas has been widespread,” notes CLC-member Etelle Higonnet, senior campaign director for Mighty Earth. “Cocoa remains a major global driver of forest destruction and the ensuing climate change, especially rainfall loss. Deforestation is frequently connected to child labor in cocoa, often in the least regulated areas. Chocolate companies must pledge to end deforestation in West Africa as they work to reduce child labor – otherwise these children will be growing up facing desertification and climate chaos, on top of poverty and exploitation.”




About the Child Labor Coalition

The Child Labor Coalition, which has 38 member organizations, represents consumers, labor unions, educators, human rights and labor rights groups, child advocacy groups, and religious and women’s groups. It was established in 1989, and is co-chaired by the National Consumers League and the American Federation of Teachers. Its mission is to protect working youth and to promote legislation, programs, and initiatives to end child labor exploitation in the United States and abroad. The CLC’s website and membership list can be found at www.stopchildlabor.org





The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Labor

By Ellie Murphy, CLC Intern

Combatting child labor during a global pandemic is a staggering challenge. In countries like Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Bangladesh—and dozens more struggling with child labor problems—school cancellations and lost family income may push children into the labor market. Once in, it may be hard for them to get out and return to school. In the face of this dire emergency, governments, the corporate world, and charitable institutions will need to support vulnerable families during this unprecedented time.  

CLC intern Ellie Murphy

There is a strong correlation between access to education and preventing child labor. An estimated 1.5 billion children are out of school. “Lack of access to education keeps the cycle of exploitation, illiteracy and poverty going – limiting future options and forcing children to accept low-wage work as adults and to raise their own children in poverty,” noted the children’s advocacy group Their World

With 9 in 10 children across the globe prevented from attending school in person, Human Rights Watch notes that interrupting formal education will have a huge impact on children and jeopardize their opportunity for better employment opportunities in the future: “For many children, the COVID-19 crisis will mean limited or no education, or falling further behind their peers.”

With many parents losing their jobs, children will face increasing pressure to supplement family incomes. Poverty is the single greatest cause of child labor. “Children work because their survival and that of their families depend on it, and in many cases because unscrupulous adults take advantage of their vulnerability,” notes the International Labour Organization.

Countries are being impacted by COVID-19 differently, but developing countries are expected to feel more negative consequences than developed countries, according to a WorldAtlas.com report, “How Are Third-World Countries Affected by COVID-19?” Tourism and trade helps fuel many of these economies and COVID is devastating both sectors.

Developing countries—primarily in Africa and Asia—already house 90 percent of working children, according to the International Journal of Health Sciences. Economic pressure from the pandemic will likely drive even more children into the work force.

Before the pandemic, child labor in West Africa was widespread—1.2 million child laborers were employed by cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and 900,000 children on cocoa farms in Ghana, according to researchers from Tulane University. Ghana and the Ivory Coast produce about 60% of the world’s cocoa—a critical ingredient in chocolate. A recent Voice of America (VOA) article included predications that “…there will be increased economic pressures on farming families, and ongoing school closures in Ghana mean children are more likely to accompany their parents to their farms and be exposed to hazardous activities.”

 The VOA cited research by the International Cocoa Initiative that analyzed the impacts of income loss on child labor rates in the Ivory Coast and found that a 10% drop in income for families in the cocoa industry is expected to produce a 5% increase in child labor.  

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After 20 Years of Little Results, New Approaches are Needed to End Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector

Here at the National Consumers League we are very proud that we’ve been a leader in the fight to end child labor since our founding in 1899. Thrity one years ago, we established the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), which merges the resources of nearly 40 groups that are committed to the fight to eliminate child labor. The CLC brings together several major unions and a variety of child rights and human rights groups to perform child labor advocacy.

In the last few years, the coalition has focused increasing energy on child labor in cocoa.  In 2001, news broke that cocoa–the main ingredient in chocolate–was being produced, in part, by large numbers of children who were trapped in the worst forms of child labor in West Africa. An alarmed U.S. Congress decided to act.  First, it threatened to mandate labels on candy bars to help consumers purchase child-labor-free chocolate.

The chocolate industry fought hard to derail the labeling system. In its place, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) launched a multi-stakeholder initiative called the Harken-Engel Protocol. Eventually, it brought together the chocolate industry, the governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast (where 70 percent of the world’s cocoa was produced) and the U.S. Department of Labor to try to tackle the problem. Over the next decade, over $70 million would be spent to fix cocoa’s child labor problem.

Child cocoa workers in West Africa. Photo by Robin Romano.

Despite these efforts, a creeping sense that remediation strategies weren’t really working began to emerge. In 2015, Tulane University researchers issued a federally-funded report that said the number of children in child labor in West African cocoa numbered over two million and had not declined. One bright spot was noted: most children in Ghana were attending school but in Ghana and the Ivory Coast children continued to toil, often without pay, and continued to use machetes, carry heavy loads, and apply pesticides—things that made their work dangerous.

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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. Five years of peace allowed the government to make social and environmental improvements. However there is still progress to be made, with 1 million children in cocoa production and over 50% of children working in cocoa production doing hazardous work.
  1. 2.03 million children were found in hazardous work in cocoa production in the countries combined. Some of the types of work Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana consider to be hazardous are working alone on a farm, cutting down trees, burning fields, applying chemicals, carrying heavy loads, and using machetes.
  1. More children have been exposed to dangerous chemicals. The number of children in hazardous work exposed to agro-chemicals increased by over 44%. Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana both prohibit the exposure of children to these kinds of chemicals. Agro-chemicals pose a greater risk to children than adults.
  1. Both girls and boys work in cocoa production in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. In 2013/14 around 60% of boys and 40% of girls were involved in child labor in agriculture.
  1. Migration within the two countries impacts cocoa production. Older children and young adults are more likely to migrate away from agricultural areas, leaving a very young and very old workforce. Cote d’Ivoire also has a large population of immigrants, mostly from Burkina Faso, who often migrate to cocoa growing areas.
  1. Access to education improved. The percentage of children from 5-17 years attending school increased in both countries. In 2013/14, 71% of children working in cocoa production attended school in Cote d’Ivoire, and 96% in Ghana attended school. Both governments have prioritized education, and have made efforts not to let work interfere with a child’s right to education.
  1. There is work to do. 1.5 million children need to be removed from hazardous work in cocoa production by 2020 to meet the Framework for Action of the Harkin-Engel Protocol. This goal is increasingly difficult with a growing global demand for chocolate and increased cocoa production in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. The Protocol still remains relevant as a plan of action to eliminate child labor in the West African cocoa industry.

The full report, “Survey Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas,” by Tulane University may be viewed here.


10 Facts about Child Labor in Lake Volta’s Fishing Industry:

  • In Ghana, one in six children aged 6 to 14 are involved in child labor; 2.3 percent of them work in fishing.
  • NGOs estimate that 4,000 to 10,000 children are trafficked and enslaved on Lake Volta at any time.
  • Persistent poverty greatly contributes to the issue of child labor in the Lake Volta fishing industry. Many families in Ghana are unable to afford the fees for school uniforms and books, and in many communities learning a trade is considered a viable alternative to schooling.
  • Children as young as four years old are trafficked to work as bonded laborers in Ghana’s fishing industry.
  • Parents who give their children to traffickers often believe that, in exchange for the small sum of money they receive, the child will have the opportunity to learn a trade.
  • The tasks children are involved in include paddling boats, hauling nets, diving underwater to untangle nets, or working as domestic laborers in the homes of fishermen.
  • Children work long hours for no pay; do not attend school; and are often malnourished, sleep deprived, and treated abusively.
  • Drowning and contracting water-borne diseases, like bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and guinea worm (dracunculiasis), are some of the hazards of this form of child labor.
  • The work violates Ghana’s own laws regulating child labor and education. It also violates standards set by the International Labor Organization’s Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (C182) and Minimum Age Convention (C138), as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child—all which Ghana has ratified.
  • In 2010, the Government of Ghana adopted a National Plan of Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ghana.


Compiled July, 2013




By Sharon L. Fawcett, CLC Intern

For a small sum of money, James Kofi Annan’s father handed him over to a child trafficker when he was just six years old. Born into a family in Ghana with 12 children, there was no money for school uniforms and books. So instead of gaining an academic education, James would learn the painful lessons of the enslaved, in Ghana’s fishing villages.

Sold by his trafficker to a Lake Volta fisherman, James worked 17 hours per day, enduring constant physical and emotional abuse. When displeased, his master often withheld food, beat him with a paddle, or threw him in the lake.

Lake Volta, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes, was created by the construction of Ghana’s Askombo dam in the 1960s. Although the lake provided a bountiful supply of fish for many years, fish stocks have been declining in recent years, making it more difficult for fishermen to earn a living. Children provide a cheap source of labor and their tiny fingers prove useful for picking the fish that are captured in the nets’ webbing, as the holes get increasingly smaller to catch smaller fish.

Poster, Fisher of Kids


The children trafficked to work in Ghana’s fishing industry as bonded laborers are as young as four years of age. Their tasks may include paddling boats, hauling nets, or performing domestic labor in the homes of fishermen. Like James Kofi Annan, these children work long hours for no pay; do not attend school; and are often malnourished, sleep deprived, and treated abusively. Nets often get snagged on submerged tree branches and children forced to dive underwater to free them risk water-borne diseases and drowning.

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), 60 percent of the world’s 215 million child laborers work in the agricultural sector—comprising activities in agriculture, livestock-raising, forestry, and fishing. In Ghana, one in six children aged six to 14 are involved in child labor. Eighty-eight percent of them work on farms; another 2.3 percent in fishing.

Work that is likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children is categorized as hazardous by the ILO. This is the kind of work Lake Volta’s child fishers are exposed to, among the “worst forms of child labor.”

Ghana has ratified several international conventions that establish standards to protect children from exploitative work, including the ILO’s Minimum Age Convention (C138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (C182). It also has national laws restricting child labor, but the laws are not vigorously enforced. The minimum age for work in Ghana is 15 years; 18 years for hazardous work. However, the practice of children working is commonly accepted in Ghanaian society.

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Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign Welcomes Hershey’s Announcement to Source 100% Certified Cocoa by 2020

[News from the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign:]

Coalition urges Hershey and all chocolate companies to go 100% Fair Trade

The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign (www.raisethebarhershey.org) welcomed today’s announcement from the Hershey Co. (HSY) that it will be certifying 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020 and urged the chocolate giant to go 100 percent Fair Trade with incremental benchmarks.  Hershey appeared to join its main rival Mars in announcing its target for certification with a 2020 deadline.  Many other smaller chocolate companies are already 100 percent certified, a number of them using Fair Trade certification, the most rigorous certification for identifying and remediating the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign released the following joint statement:

“The Raise the Bar, Hershey! campaign is pleased that Hershey is announcing 100 percent certification for its cocoa by 2020. To truly address child labor, Hershey needs to make sure it is certifying all of its cocoa Fair Trade, the only certification that adequately addresses the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Hershey should certify and label one of its top-selling, brand name bars Fair Trade within the next year, and should certify and label all of its chocolates Fair Trade by 2020.  We urge Hershey to reveal how the company plans to get to 100% certification by disclosing the certifiers it will be working with as well as a timeline for converting specific product lines.

The Raise the Bar Hershey campaign, joined by over 150,000 consumers, union allies, religious groups, and over 40 food co-ops and natural grocers has been pressuring Hershey to address child labor for several years.  Just this week, Whole Foods Market (WFM) announced that it was removing Hershey’s Scharffen Berger line from its shelves until Hershey took steps to address child labor in its supply chain. The Raise the Bar, Hershey Campaign! and its allies will continue to encourage Hershey, and other chocolate companies, to improve labor practices on cocoa farms and plantations.”

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