April 29th, 2014
05:21 PM ET

Opinion: Cocoa farmers need bigger slice of profits

After seeing Cocoa-nomics, the documentary about the chocolate industry's efforts to end slavery and child labor in its supply chains, Han de Groot, Executive Director of UTZ Certified, which promotes sustainable cocoa, coffee and tea, was prompted to write about his experiences working with farmers in Ivory Coast.

He says progress is being made. But there is much to do, especially alleviate crippling poverty and ensure that farmers get a greater slice of the industry's revenues. If not, he argues, chocolate will become an expensive niche product and communities which depend on cocoa will suffer further.

Read Han de Groot's article in Confectionery News
Topics: Solutions • Uncategorized
April 10th, 2014
10:49 AM ET

Drive to end child marriage stalls, but fightback begins

By Gordon Brown, U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education

Editor's note: Gordon Brown is a United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education. He was formerly the UK's prime minister.

It is a descent into barbarism. This month’s plan by Iraqi parliamentarians to legalize girl marriage at nine follows the Pakistan Islamic Council’s demand last month that Pakistan abolish all legal restrictions on child marriage, the revelation that Syrian refugee girls are being sold into marriage against their will and the increased pressure in many African countries to ease the restrictions on selling child brides.

As one who has believed that worldwide disgust at child marriage would end it within our generation, I now find that progress has stalled. In the last few months Mauritania, at the center of allegations of girls’ genital mutilation to make possible the early marriage of eight and nine year olds, has resisted pressure to enforce a legal minimum age for marriage.

Attempts in Yemen to do so have also failed. Even Nigeria has been considering reducing the age of marriage.

In India, the rape of girls has brought millions on to the streets in protest and it has now been exposed as the country with 40% of the world's child brides.

The U.N. says one in nine girls is a bride by the age of 15 and that by 2020 142 million - or one in three girls in developing countries - will be married before they are 18. For example, in Afghanistan 60% are married before they turn 16 and in Niger 74% of girls are married by the age of 18.

Fortunately, the reluctance of governments to end abuses is being met with an even stronger movement from girls themselves.

FULL POST

Topics: Uncategorized
Pineapple program fights traffickers in Sierra Leone
April 2nd, 2014
04:36 PM ET

Pineapple program fights traffickers in Sierra Leone

By John Lyon, Special for CNN

Editor's note: John Lyon is the President and CEO of World Hope International. Based in the United States, WHI is a direct partner of Sierra Leone in the fight against human trafficking. In Sierra Leone, WHI helps trafficking victims find a safe, healthy life through emergency after-care and community education programs.

(CNN) - Selina was just 10 years old when her parents sent her off to Freetown to live with her uncle, who promised education and better opportunities.

Her parents, petty-traders in a small fishing village in Sierra Leone, barely made enough to feed their children.

The uncle's offer seemed like the break they had been waiting for - an opportunity to give their daughter a better life than the one they could provide for her. They never anticipated the nightmare that would ensue.

When Selina, whose name has been changed to protect her, arrived at her uncle's house, it quickly became clear she would not be getting the education she had hoped for.

Instead, Selina was immediately locked inside her uncle's house, where he proceeded to sexually assault her over the course of the next several months, often raping her multiple times a day.

Selina’s story is one of many that have been shared with World Hope International’s staff since we started anti-trafficking prevention and rehabilitation efforts in Sierra Leone in 2004.

Unfortunately, stories of exploitation and servitude are not unusual in this country where more than 60% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

FULL POST

Topics: Life In Slavery • Solutions
April 2nd, 2014
02:42 AM ET

Brazil tackling child prostitution for World Cup

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

The newly-renovated Castelao football stadium looms into sight up ahead. Driving just past it, we see women standing on street corners, leaning into cars and flashing nearly naked bodies in the low light.

We're in Fortaleza in the northeastern corner of Brazil, one of the World Cup host cities but also known as a magnet for sex tourism.

FULL STORY