Hershey pledges $10 million to improve West African cocoa farming, fight child labor
January 31st, 2012
08:50 PM ET

Hershey pledges $10 million to improve West African cocoa farming, fight child labor

By David Ariosto, CNN

The Hershey company, one of the United States' leading chocolate producers, says it's pledged $10 million over the next five years to educate West African cocoa farmers on improving their trade and combating child labor.

The region is home to about 70% percent of the world's cocoa but has also been the source of recent scrutiny over its alleged use of child labor. (More about the issue)

Hershey's announcement Monday heartened activists, who say the company is finally focusing efforts on improving the root cause of the issue. FULL POST

January 20th, 2012
03:51 PM ET

Ethical chocolate, U.S. consumers, what the Swiss think and more

One of the children featured in the documentary, "Chocolate's Child Slaves," has never eaten chocolate and at 12 years of age, he wishes he could go to school instead of working. CNN attends a workshop for kids on ethical chocolate and gets their reaction to the plight of their peers on the cocoa plantations.


FULL POST

January 20th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

Documentary maker answers your questions:

CNN correspondent David McKenzie traveled into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. His documentary "Chocolate's Child Slaves, premiers Friday January 20, 9 CET on CNN International. David is answering your questions from the comments section here:

Martha Johnson asks “What is the motivation of this documentary?”

Thanks Martha. The documentary is based on a simple premise. Ten years after chocolate companies promised to end child slavery and child labor in the cocoa plantations of West Africa, have they kept that promise? It’s about keeping them honest and holding them to their promises. We traveled into the cocoa fields to find the truth. And I think the truth is shocking and the promises have not been kept. As part of our Freedom Project initiative, CNN is investigating the scourge of modern day slavery wherever it exists.

FULL POST

January 19th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

iReport challenge: Fair trade chocolate creations

Tens of thousands of children toil in cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast, some against their will, to create the chocolate bars that many of us enjoy.

In a CNN Freedom Project investigation, David McKenzie traveled to the West African country and discovered that despite promises the global chocolate industry made a decade ago to end forced labor, there are still child slaves harvesting cocoa, even though some have never tasted chocolate and some don't even know what the word "chocolate" means.

It can be hard to find ethically produced cocoa, but the "fair trade" designation helps ensures that farmers receive a fair price and prohibits the use of slave and child labor.

For this Freedom Project challenge, we invite you to create a dish using fair trade chocolate, with bonus points to those who make a delicacy that’s special to their country or region.

Submit a photo or video showing off your creation, and tell us about the experience, including any obstacles you faced in finding or using fair trade chocolate. Please include the recipe you used.

The best submissions will be shown on CNN International, Eatocracy and the CNN Freedom Project blog. FULL POST

January 19th, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Child slavery and chocolate: All too easy to find

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN

Daloa, Ivory Coast (CNN) - Chocolate’s billion-dollar industry starts with workers like Abdul. He squats with a gang of a dozen harvesters on an Ivory Coast farm.

Abdul holds the yellow cocoa pod lengthwise and gives it two quick cracks, snapping it open to reveal milky white cocoa beans. He dumps the beans on a growing pile.

Abdul is 10 years old, a three-year veteran of the job.

He has never tasted chocolate. FULL POST

Slavery in cocoa fields: A horrible ‘normal’
January 19th, 2012
11:49 AM ET

Slavery in cocoa fields: A horrible ‘normal’

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN

The Freedom Project wanted our team to answer one question: Ten years after all the major players in the chocolate industry promised to end trafficking and child labor in Ivory Coast, was that promise kept?

So that's how we found ourselves, four journalists and a driver, crammed into a silver SUV, driving toward Daloa with the faded luxury of Abidjan’s skyscrapers behind us. Market towns became bush and the traffic thinned as we chewed up the miles. FULL POST

January 19th, 2012
09:34 AM ET

Former domestic slave reunited with mother in Taiwan

When she was about 7, Isabel was sold into domestic servitude to a wealthy Taiwan family who later moved to California. She endured a childhood of constant work and beatings and only escaped when she was in her 20s.

CNN's Martin Savidge first talked to Isabel about her story in November. In that conversation, Isabel said her wish was to be reunited with her mother. "If I find her I say Mom I love you so much. I still want to find you," she said.

Her story sparked a media storm in Taiwan and the country's foreign minister helped locate Isabel's family.

On Thursday, after 20 years, Isabel got her wish and was finally reunited with her mother. FULL POST

January 18th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

A 'Divine' effort

CNN's Richard Quest talks with Sophi Tranchell of Divine Chocolate about efforts to end slave labor in the cocoa trade.

More about the issue of slavery in the cocoa industry

January 17th, 2012
02:51 PM ET

How to help: Slavery in the supply chain

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

It's easy to say that human trafficking is a violation against basic human rights and that it should be abolished. And we often assume that modern-day slavery only takes place in countries far away.

But chances are, you have purchased, eaten, or have worn something tainted by slavery sometime in your life. Curious about what some of those connections might be? FULL POST

January 17th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

Chocolate industry responds

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

The Harkin-Engel Protocol, a cocoa industry-wide agreement signed in 2001, was written to put an end to forced child labor in chocolate by 2005. That deadline had to be extended to 2008, and again to 2010. It's now been more than 10 years.

Before the documentary, CNN asked the companies who signed the protocol for their response. FULL POST

Who consumes the most chocolate?
January 17th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Who consumes the most chocolate?

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields. More information and CNN International air times

But who produces and consumes the most chocolate in the world? Do women really partake of it more than men? Who has the highest demand for the indulgent treats? FULL POST

January 16th, 2012
01:59 PM ET

The human cost of chocolate

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields. More information and CNN International air times

It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In the Ivory Coast alone, there are an estimated 200,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed around the world. FULL POST

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