Africa:: Child Labor :: 2007. 4. 6. 18:33

Globalization and Child Labor:
The Cause Can Also be a Cure

In providing jobs for millions of Africans, the globalized chocolate industry must also avoid engaging child labor


Susan Ariel Aaronson

YaleGlobal, 13 March 2007

Pressure of globalization has led to child trafficking and forced labor. Similar global pressure from public opinion can also put an end to the practice. Five years ago, reports emerged about small groups of children being trafficked and forced to pick cacao beans – the main ingredient for chocolate – in West African plantations. Outraged US officials, industry groups and activists organized the Cocoa Protocol to stop the practice and debated a label that would certify chocolate products as being free of child labor. Major chocolate firms and non-governmental organizations set out to provide education, training and other opportunities for children in nations like the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali and others. But slavery lingers in Africa, making it clear that a strategy that focuses on a single sector cannot end centuries of poverty and cultural practices permeating the continent. Collapse of the cacao industry in West Africa, in order to prevent child labor by a few could devastate millions more lives. Awareness, as provided by initiatives such as the Cocoa Protocol, can instigate change – but many more industries and governments need to join efforts to end the exploitation of Africa’s children. – YaleGlobal