Child labour in the chocolate industry


A child working as a child labour in Ghana.

IF YOU ARE eating a chocolate or chocolate cake this means you are supporting forced child labour of an African child by the Western Imperialists. About 2 million kids who were supposed to be at school are used as child labour in the eastern African countries such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, are used as child labour  …

A child working as a child labour in Ivory Coast.

Chocolate is a product of the cacao bean, which grows primarily in the tropical climates of Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America.[1] The cacao bean is more commonly referred to as cocoa, so that is the term that will be used throughout this article. Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast,[2] supply more than 70% of the world’s cocoa.[1] The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to a majority of chocolate companies, including the largest in the world.[3]

In recent years, a handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labour, and in some cases slavery, on cocoa farms in Western Africa.[4][5] Since then, the industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to not only access farms where human rights violations still occur but to then disseminate this information to the public. In 2004, the Ivorian First Lady’s entourage allegedly kidnapped and killed a journalist reporting on government corruption in its profitable cocoa industry.[6] In 2010, Ivorian government authorities detained three newspaper journalists after they published an article exposing government corruption in the cocoa sector.[7] The farms of Western Africa supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé—revealing the industry’s direct connection to the worst forms of child labour, human trafficking, and slavery.[8]

The Worst Forms of Child Labor 

In Western Africa, cocoa is a commodity crop grown primarily for export; 60% of the Ivory Coast’s export revenue comes from its cocoa.[9] As the chocolate industry has grown over the years, so has the demand for cheap cocoa. On average, cocoa farmers earn less than $2 per day, an income below the poverty line.[10] As a result, they often resort to the use of child labour to keep their prices competitive.[11]

The children of Western Africa are surrounded by intense poverty, and most begin working at a young age to help support their families.[12] Some children end up on the cocoa farms because they need work and traffickers tell them that the job pays well.[8] Other children are “sold” to traffickers or farm owners by their own relatives, who are unaware of the dangerous work environment and the lack of any provisions for an education.[13] Often, traffickers abduct the young children from small villages in neighbouring African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Mali,[8] two of the poorest countries in the world.[14] Once they have been taken to the cocoa farms, the children may not see their families for years, if ever.

Most of the children labouring on cocoa farms are between the ages of 12 and 16,[15] but reporters have found children as young as 5.[16][19] In addition, 40% of these children are girls, and some stay for a few months, while others end up working on the cocoa farms through adulthood.[18]

A child’s work day typically begins at six in the morning and ends in the evening.[18] Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests.[17] Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete. These large, heavy, dangerous knives are the standard tools for children on the cocoa farms,[18]which violates international labour laws and a UN convention on eliminating the worst forms of child labour.[24][32] Once they cut the bean pods from the trees, the children pack the pods into sacks that weigh more than 100 pounds when full and drag them through the forest [17] Aly Diabate, a former cocoa slave, said, “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”[4]

A child working as a child labour in Western Africa

Holding a single large pod in one hand, each child has to strike the pod with a machete and pry it open with the tip of the blade to expose the cocoa beans.[18] Every strike of the machete has the potential to slice a child’s flesh. The majority of children have scars on their hands, arms, legs or shoulders from the machetes.[16] [19]

In addition to the hazards of using machetes, children are also exposed to agricultural chemicals on cocoa farms in Western Africa.[18] Tropical regions such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast consistently deal with prolific insect populations and choose to spray the pods with large amounts of industrial chemicals. In Ghana, children as young as 10 spray the pods with these toxins without wearing protective clothing.[17]

The farm owners using child labour usually provide the children with the cheapest food available, such as corn paste and bananas.[20] In some cases, the children sleep on wooden planks in small windowless buildings with no access to clean water or sanitary bathrooms.[21]

On cocoa farms, 10% of child labourers in Ghana and 40% in the Ivory Coast do not attend school,[2] which violates the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Child Labour Standards. [18] Depriving these children of an education has many short-term and long-term effects. Without an education, the children of the cocoa farms have little hope of ever breaking the cycle of poverty.

To date, relatively little progress has been made to reduce or eliminate child labour and slavery in the cocoa industry of Western Africa. At the very least, the industry has agreed to work to eliminate what the ILO calls “the worst forms of child labour.”[23] These are defined as practices “likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children” and include the use of “hazardous tools” and any work that “interferes with schooling.”[26] Approximately1.8 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana may be exposed to the worst forms of child labour on cocoa farms. [2]


Recently, investigators have discovered children trafficked into Western African cocoa farms and coerced to work without pay.[3][5] Abby Mills, campaigns director of the International Labor Rights Forum, adds, “Every research study ever conducted in [Western Africa] shows that there is human trafficking going on, particularly in the Ivory Coast.”[33] While the term “slavery” has a variety of historical contexts, slavery in the cocoa industry involves the same core human rights violations as other forms of slavery throughout the world.

Cases often involve acts of physical violence, such as being whipped for working slowly or trying to escape. Reporters have also documented cases where children and adults were locked in at night to prevent them from escaping. Former cocoa slave Aly Diabate told reporters, “The beatings were a part of my life. I had seen others who tried to escape. When they tried, they were severely beaten.”[21] Drissa, a recently freed slave who had never even tasted chocolate, experienced similar circumstances. When asked what he would tell people who eat chocolate made from slave labour, he replied that they enjoyed something that he suffered to make, adding, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”[22]

Is Slave-free Chocolate Possible? 

Despite their role in contributing to child labour, slavery, and human trafficking, the chocolate industry has not taken significant steps to remedy the problem. Within their $60-billion industry,[27] chocolate companies have the power to end the use of child labour and slave labour by paying cocoa farmers a living wage for their product.

The chocolate industry is also being called upon to develop and financially support programs to rescue and rehabilitate children who have been sold to cocoa farms.[26] To date, the industry has done little to remove child labour, let alone aid survivors of child labour. Hershey’s, the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, has not thoroughly addressed accusations of child labour in its supply chain and refuses to release any information about where it sources its cocoa.[31] This lack of transparency is characteristic of the chocolate industry, which has the resources to address and eliminate child labour but consistently fails to take action.

Are the Labels on Chocolate Meaningful? 

Aside from large-scale production in Western Africa, a significant amount of cocoa is also grown in Latin America. This is where the majority of organic cocoa originates.[27] At this time, neither slavery nor child labour has been documented on these cocoa farms.[28] While it remains possible that some Latin American farms may employ these practices, it is not widely documented as it is in Western Africa. [29]

The truth is that consumers today have no sure way of knowing if the chocolate they are buying involved the use of slavery or child labour. There are many different labels on chocolate bars today, such as various fair trade certifications and the Rainforest Alliance Certification; however, no single label can guarantee that the chocolate was made without the use of exploitive labour. In 2009, the founders of the fair trade certification process had to suspend several of their Western African suppliers due to evidence that they were using child labour.[30] Chocolate companies, however, continue to certify their products to tell consumers that they source their cocoa ethically. But in 2011, a Danish journalist investigated farms in Western Africa where major chocolate companies buy cocoa. He filmed illegal child labour on these farms, including those certified by UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.[3] Despite the industry’s claims, child labour still plagues cocoa farms in Western Africa.

Multiple government and NGO programs have been developed, attempting to address the root causes of “the worst forms of child labour” and slavery in West Africa. However, the success of these efforts will depend greatly on the genuine support or lack thereof from the chocolate industry over the coming years.


Consumers play an essential role in diminishing the food industry’s injustices. Child slavery on cocoa farms is a difficult issue to fully address because the most serious abuses take place across the world; however, that does not mean our responsibility is reduced since chocolate is a luxury and not a necessity like fruits and vegetables.

Taking all of this into consideration and looking at the research that is available at this time, F.E.P. has created a list of vegan chocolates that we do and do not recommend based on the sourcing of the cocoa. Other than a few exceptions (which are explained), we encourage people not to purchase chocolate that is sourced from Western Africa. The list is available on our website along with free downloadable apps for the iPhone and Android.



  1. World Cocoa Foundation. March 2012. “Cocoa Market Update.” (2/27/14)
  2. Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer.  March 31, 2011. “Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.” Tulane University. (2/25/14)
  3. Mistrati, Miki, and Romano, U. Roberto. Shady Chocolate. Performed by Mistrati, Miki (2012; Copenhagen: Bastard Film & TV). DVD.
  4. March 24, 2010. “Tracing the bitter truth of chocolate and child labour.” (3/01/14)
  5. McKenzie, David, and Swails, Brent. January 19, 2012. “Child Slavery and chocolate: All too Easy to find.” CNN (2/22/14)
  6. July 22, 2009. “Franco-Canadian journalist killed by first lady’s security guards says French TV.” (3/01/14)
  7. Voice of America. July 16, 2010. “Ivory Coast Arrests 3 Journalists over Cocoa Story.” (2/28/14)
  8. Mistrati, Miki, and Romano, U. RobertoThe Dark Side of Chocolate. Performed by Mistrati, Miki (2010; Copenhagen: Bastard Film & TV). DVD.
  9. Sackett, Marjie. “Forced Child Labor and Cocoa Production in West Africa.” Human Rights & Human Welfare(2008). (3/01/14)
  10. Kramer, Anna. March 6, 2013. “Women and the big business of chocolate.” Oxfam America (3/04/14)
  11. Hinshaw, Drew. October 6, 2010. “Governments Look to End Child Labor in West African Cocoa Farming.” Voice of America (3/02/14)
  12. Price, Larry C. July 10, 2013. “One Million Children Labor in Africa’s Goldmines.” PBS. (3/03/14)
  13. World Vision. 2013. “Information Sheet: The Worst Forms of Child Labour in the Cocoa Industry.” (2/25/14)
  14. Global Finance. 2013. “The Poorest Countries in the World.” (2/24/14)
  15. Raghavan, Sudarsan, and Chatterjee, Sumana. 2001. “How Your Chocolate May be Tainted.” Knight Ridder Newspapers (2/21/14)
  16. United States Department of Labor. 2012. “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Cote d’Ivoire.” (2/25/14)
  17. Mull, L. Diane, and Kirkhorn, Steven R. 2005. “Child Labor in Ghana Cocoa Production: Focus upon Agricultural Tasks, Ergonomic Exposures, and Associated Injuries and Illnesses.” Association of Schools of Public Health (3/05/14)
  18. Lamb, Christina. April 22, 2001. “The child slaves of the Ivory Coast – bought and sold for as little as £40.” The Telegraph (3/02/14)
  19. United States Department of Labor. 2012. “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Ghana.” (2/25/214)
  20. Harkin, Tom, and Engel, Eliot L. February 14, 2005. “Taking Child Slavery Out of Valentine’s Day.” Los Angeles Times (3/04/14)
  21. Engel (NY). “1700.” Congressional RecordV. 147, Pt. 9 (June 28, 2001) p. 12269-72.
  22. Sapoznik, Karlee. June 30, 2010. “‘When People Eat Chocolate, They Are Eating My Flesh’: Slavery and the Dark Side of Chocolate.” ca (2/24/14)
  23. Grossman-Greene, Sarah, and Bayer, Chris. 2009. “A History of Child Labor, Child Rights, and the Harkin-Engel Protocol.” Tulane University,%20Child%20Labor,%20and%20the%20Harkin-Engel%20Protocol.pdf. (2/28/14)
  24. International Labour Organization. January 26, 2000. “Convention 182.” (3/01/14)
  25. PR Newswire. September 25, 2012. “Gunther Grant, Inc. Capitalizes On $60 Billion Dollar Chocolate Industry.” (3/06/14)
  26. 10 Campaign. 2012. “Demands.” (2/26/14)
  27. International Cocoa Organization. September 2006. “A Study on the Market for Organic Cocoa.” (2/27/14)
  28. Clark, Meagan. February 11, 2014. “How to Buy a Conflict-Free Valentine’s Day Gift.” International Business Times (2/23/14)
  29. United States Department of Labor. 2012. “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.” (2/25/14)
  30. Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. March 25, 2012. “FLO Response to: ‘Chocolate: The Bitter Truth.’” Fairtrade International (7/07/14)
  31. Feeley, Jef. Bloomberg L.P. March 19, 2014. “Hershey Investors Suing Over Child Labor Allowed to Pursue Files.” Bloomberg Businessweek (7/07/14)
  32. United Nations. 2014. “International Conventions on Child Labour.” United Nations.
  33. Conversation with Abby Mills, May 28, 2014.





BLF took their own way to MiWay

Black First Land First (BLF) has marched to the offices of insurance company MiWay reportedly to get clarity regarding its stance on racism.


THE SOUTH AFRICAN far left political group Black First Land First (BLF) has marched to the offices of insurance company MiWay reportedly to get clarity regarding its stance on racism.

This happened after leaked email exposed racism practised by the insurance company which is 100 percent white.

MiWay rejected an alleged leaked email allegedly sent by company employee Aarthi Roopnarain as fake.

The email read “This is a reminder of yesterdays meeting. The final decision was to reject 90% of claims made by black people as from August 1, 2017. They are an easy target, it’s also great opportunity to save money and also punish these baboons.”

BLF national spokesperson Zanele Lwana said they have read conflicting statements from the media about the company.

“BLF has read contradictory statements from the media about the company and we are puzzled to see that MiWay has 100% white board of Directors

“As a movement that fights racism wherever it shows its ugly head, which is our revolutionary duty, we’re just going there to seek clarity from MiWay. They must just very quickly cooperate. We’re not going to fight,” said Lwana.

MiWay’s Chief Executive Officer, Rene Otto rejected the email as fake in an interview with City Post.

“We can confirm that the email with its content was never sent from a MiWay employee. Roopnarian herself has also denied writing the email.

“It’s very important for us to be transparent. We’ve got nothing to hide. And I’m actually very open to any faction, party, interest group who feel they want to come and audit. We’re not going to go to war with anyone. We want to be constructive,” s aid Otto.






DA’s fake news killed Dr Kaunda

The DA has spread lies that Dr Kenneth Kaunda is dead…


THERE SO-CALLED DEMOCRATIC Alliance is popular with lies and empty promises but this time they went too far. The party leader Mmusi Maimane was prevented from entering Zambia to spread lies about South African President Jacob Zuma.

The same Maimane who was stopped by the police from entering Zambia is now using his fake news to spread lies that former Zambian, President Dr Kenneth Kaunda is dead.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane who issued a statement about Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s death.

Maimane in a statement issued yesterday said, On behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA), I wish to express my deepest and most sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of freedom fighter, African liberator, and the founding father of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, who has passed away aged 93.
Kenneth Kaunda remains a prominent figure in the fight for independence on the African continent, playing a leading role in Zambia’s struggle for liberation, which began in 1949 when he resigned as a school teacher to take up an active role in politics.
After serving in various roles in the party and its predecessor, Kaunda became president of Zambia’s United National Independence Party (UNIP) in 1960 after his release from prison.
Just 4 years later, Zambia won independence and Kaunda became its first president when he won the 1964 general elections. He continued to serve as Zambian president for 27 years until he was defeated by Frederick Chiluba’s Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in 1991.
Our continent has lost a father, and a leader. The DA stands with the people of Zambia and wishes them strength during this time of mourning.
Rest in peace, Kenneth Kaunda.”
 Later the statement was deleted from the DA website and the DA apologise for their stupid statement.

Zambian High Commissioner, Emmanuel Mwamaba, has dismissed DA  rumours that former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda has died.

The Zambian government announced that the 93-year-old statesman was admitted to hospital after he had complained about feeling week.

“Dr Kenneth Kaunda is alive all those rumours by the social media and DA are lies.He has been admitted to hospital for medical check ups and he is stable enough to go home,” said

Tshwane House opened by DAEFF administration in secret

The Tshwane House is the brainchild of the ANC administration was open in secret….


THE ANC AND the people of Tshwane have to make sure that Munitoria House became history and Tshwane House became the future and the present. When the ANC government came up with the R2billion Tshwane House project the DAEFF rejected it as a waste of taxpayers’ money now they are reclaiming it. But the DAEFF led administration has hijacked the people’s house and open it secretly without informing the people of Tshwane. Now they are claiming credit for the building that is the brainchild of the ANC-led administration, how can you officially open something that you stood against?

THE ANC TSHWANE Caucus has congratulated the diligent and sterling work that was done by the ANC lead administration. Lesego Makhubela the ANC Tshwane Caucus Spokesperson said firstly in taking bold and decisive steps to demolish what was known as ‘’Munitoria” which was the headquarters of the apartheid administration following the deadly fires that engulfed it, to cover apartheid grand corruption, land and property theft, that lead to the west wing of the offices which was ironically the storage of title deeds, land audit and properties that were owned by the city to be burned without recognition.

“The office was by then managed by the current DAEFF administration MMC of Finance Mrs Fourie, who was at the time the city’s town treasurer a position equivalent to CFO, it is no surprise that she has returned as MMC of finance to cover her dirty tracks.
“We further wish to congratulate the ANC lead government on the delivery of a state of the art building befitting for the nation’s capital and its people. Whilst there may have been challenges during the construction phase of project, which is characteristic of any project of that magnitude,
“We are particularly pleased with the maturity demonstrated by the leadership of government at the time, in handling these challenges. What pleases us more is that consistent with the policies of the ANC on radical economic transformation, these offices which are to be the nerve centre of the capital were built by companies are owned by black industrialist that hails from the dusty townships of the city. The ANC government under the stewardship of Ramokgopa as mayor was not only building offices for the city but was also building strong companies for black industrialists,” said Makhubela.

Former Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa at the sod turning of Tshwane house which was opposed by the present administration.

He said the DA and it’s Youth wing the EFF have been left with an egg on their faces, as they have cried corruption during the construction phases of the project, claiming it won’t be completed, that the project was too big for black companies to handle and that it will take forever to build. We are not perplexed that the offices have been nicodemously or secretively opened by the DAEFF lead municipality, which has not officially informed the public, members of the media and all interested parties for fear of wallowing in their own lies.

The mayor has officially taken occupation of a very specious piece of the building as his office and EFF councillors play comfortably in their air-conditioned offices.
“We call upon the city to officially open the offices to the media and the public so that they may also take ownership of the building built for them by the industrious, diligent and capable ANC government that is known for delivery and biasness to the poor. We urge the mayor and his youth wing the EFF to desist from “telling lies and claiming easy victories,” said Makhubela.
The Tshwane mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi played spin doctor by saying, “ I confirm that there is no secret opening. The Mayor announced this thusly”.
Mgobozi sent the City Post a Media statement which does not state the official opening Tshwane House but is about the office of the mayor and city executives moving to the new building.In the same statement, the failed to mention that Tshwane House was started by the ANC administration.

The media statement sent to City Post on Wednesday night as a proof that the opening was not a secret does not mention any official opening of Tshwane House….

Executive Mayor of Tshwane

Office of the Executive Mayor and other City Departments move to Tshwane House

05 June 2017

Release: Immediate
The Office of the Executive Mayor and other City Departments have begun the major office relocation to the newly built City of Tshwane Headquarters called Tshwane House in the city centre. The Mayor, Speaker, Chief Whip, City Manager and other departments have started moving into this new building as at 02 June 2017.
The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, expressed pleasure at the milestone: “This move gives effect to better coordination and effectiveness of City services as all departments will now be under one roof. Equally exciting is that the new budget and IDP have been approved and our work can now begin. It sure feels like a new a chapter altogether and we are looking forward to serving our residents under these renewed conditions”.
Msimanga said he was particularly looking forward to the centrally located Council Chamber: “It is a separate structure altogether, with its own iconographic, formal architecture that makes it recognisable as an iconic landmark. Tshwane House is indeed synonymous with the identity of city, where decisions about the city will be made, and the future of the city moulded” added Msimanga.
The new headquarters is one of the first government buildings to target a 5-Star Green Star SA certification within a public-private partnership (PPP). The building – on the site of the old Munitoria Building – was designed to provide a comfortable, healthy and productive working environment for its occupants, with an overall environmental strategy encompassing transport, indoor environmental quality, energy, water and waste.

In March 1997, a wing of the old Munitoria Building was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt. The intention with the new building was to consolidate office space for the City’s staff in a building that would provide adequate space for the City’s administrative processes and enhance the City’s service delivery capacity, in an environmentally conscious and socially cohesive structure.
The initial design incorporated a basement parking structure with a “citadel-type” building on top, accessed through a single doorway – a solution that did not engage the street or the public at all. Through an iterative process, a cost-effective design was revised by dropping the building to street level and creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment. The result is a rational and elegant, but not opulent building, and an economical structure with a very efficient use of floor plate area and facades.
A park has been incorporated on the eastern side of the site, which can be opened for public functions. This area provides space for a possible future extension to Tshwane House, which will be linked to the first phase by an interstitial corridor.
The fundamental components of the building are a new Council Chamber, efficient office space, and an environment that provides a pleasant and healthy workplace for staff members.
Employees contact details will remain the same, however, there will be a temporary interruption to phones and emails during the relocation process. The entire relocation for all city departments is expected to end on 12 June 2017.
Media enquiries:
Samkelo Mgobozi
Spokesperson to the Executive Mayor of Tshwane
078 231 5977



















Veterans should go back to their branches…


THESE DAYS every Tom, Dick and Harry is a political commentator. Where were these mamparas when we were forced to smoke a teargas smoke and been pump with live ammunition and rubber bullets.

We have freedom of press and expression in our country but are being abused by these palookas who think that they can take a decision who can lead a certain political organisation. About 30 years ago I did not imagine that political nonentities will write in their social media profile who must lead the ANC or in some newspaper columns about who should lead the ANC. Illegal social media branches make take the decisions but the real ANC branches will take the decision who must lead the African National Congress.

I am disappointed to see opposition parties calling for the ANC leader to resign; it is time for these small parties to mind their stupid business. The DA managed to remove Helen Zille as a political leader for the colonialism Tweets but they failed to remove her as the Premier of Western Cape. All these so-called political commentators are silence on this matter but they are lot of brouhaha about President Jacob Zuma.

It is disappointing to see small parties which failed to secure 3 seats trying to use ANC MP to vote against their leader. An MP who will vote against the ANC will be betraying not only the organisation but will also spitting on Nelson Mandela’s grave.

When coming veterans of the organisation, they have a say but they should belong to branches and are members in good standing. How can a veteran who last campaign for the ANC in 1994, does not belong to any branch and his/her membership to the organisation expired 20 years ago have a say in the matters of the movement? No one is bigger than the organisation they should go back to their branches.

I have a feeling that the architect of apartheid Hendrick Verwoed is resurrecting from the grave that is why the enemy the ANC is facing the enemy within.