Is change really happening in the cocoa fields? Is child labor actually being eradicated, is slavery in the plantations finally coming to and end and are conditions improving for workers? After watching Cocoa-nomics, CNN's investigation into the chocolate industry's supply chains, Richard Quest challenged a panel of experts. Here are the highlights of his discussion with Guy Ryder of the International Labour Organization, Nick Weatherhill of the International Cocoa Initiative, Ben Skinner of Tau Investment Management and Bryson Vogeltanz of the End It Movement.
As part of the Freedom Project documentary Coaco-nomics, which investigates how the chocolate industry is trying to eradicate slavery from its supply chains, Richard Quest interviewed Ivory Coast Prime Minister Daniel Duncan. He said the government was committed to improving revenues for famers and building schools for children.
This farmer from Ivory Coast has been growing cocoa beans for decades, yet he'd never tasted chocolate. As part of the CNN Freedom Project documentary Cocoa-nomics, Richard Quest explored the economics of the chocolate industry which is trying to eradicate slavery from its supply chains. And when he met some of the men, women and children who harvest the beans, he arrived with a KitKat and a box of luxury chocolates from a business class flight.Read Richard Quest's story in full.
For more than a year, a coalition of several non-profits working to end human slavery has been running a campaign to raise awareness about modern-day slavery all over the world.
It’s called the “End It Movement”.
CNN talks to Nate Buzolic about the movement and the significance of the red “X” symbol.
The chocolate industry is worth an estimated $110 billion a year, and yet its key commodity is grown by some of the poorest people on the planet, in plantations that can hide the worst forms of child labor.
Two years ago CNN uncovered slavery in the plantations of Ivory Coast. Now manufacturers are facing up to the growing demand for "ethical" chocolate and are taking measures to clean up their supply chains.
But do these measures go far enough and are they fast enough? In the forthcoming series airing on CNN International from February 27, CNN returns to Ivory Coast. Ahead of that, you can read more background about how slavery has tainted the industry. You can find out where in the world the demand for and supply of chocolate is greatest, look at the true cost of a bar of chocolate and see how it is made from bean to bar by scrolling through our info-graphics.
You can also take part in our iReport challenge to eat ethically, and you can meet the village elder who gets to taste a KitKat for the first time.Read more about what Nestlé found when it sent a team to the Ivory Coast.
Qatar says it has made “tangible progress” in addressing welfare concerns of migrant workers, as the nation builds the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. Amnesty International says the reforms are positive but not enough.
“On one level, always pleased to see positive efforts to improve rights to migrant workers and prevent these kind of abuses happening," says James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on migrants’ rights. "But I think it’s important to make it clear that this doesn’t really fundamentally change the situation. This is a limited contractual standard being applied to World Cup stadiums."
Watch his interview on CNN.
And read how Qatar is defending its record on human rights.
Two years ago, the documentary Chocolate's Child Slaves exposed the plight of youngsters forced to harvest the beans that make the chocolate we eat around the world. Many of the children made to work in the cocoa plantations in countries like Ivory Coast have never even tasted chocolate. Now CNN has returned to the plantations, this time with the Executive Vice President of Nestle, to find out if anything has changed and to see if the chocolate industry is willing and able to eradicate slavery from its supply chains.
Cocoa-nomics, presented by Richard Quest, will air on CNN International for the first time on February 27. You can watch the trailer above. And we'd like to hear from you too if you are taking steps to make sure the food you eat is not produced by slave labor. Find out more in our iReport assignment.
Carpets woven by slaves are could be for sale in some of the world's biggest stores. Researchers investigating the hand-made carpet industry documented thousands of workers in northern India and found widespread slave labor, bonded labor and human trafficking in the supply chains. Siddharth Kara, who worked on the report for the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the reality may be far worse because they were violently turned away from many of the operations they tried to visit. Read his report in full here.
Law enforcement officers arrest 29 people in a clampdown on the organized sexual abuse of children online. The arrests include men in the UK and the Philippines. Stephanie McCourt of the UK National Crime Agency warns sex predators: "These people need to realize that what they are doing leaves a trail. They will be found."
In parts of Africa, still haunted by the 19th Century trans-Atlantic slave trade, new forms of slavery are thriving. According to the 2013 Global Slavery Index, four of the world's worst 10 countries are in west Africa. In this film, CNN reporters examine why slavery still exists, including among children. They talk to victims, activists and politicians accountable for stamping it out.
This Freedom Project film aired on CNN International TV in January. Now you can see it here in its entirety without commercial breaks.
CNN Correspondent Vlad Duthiers starts in Ghana, where many of the trans-Atlantic slaves were captured and where slavery now has its roots in different forms. The film also includes reports from Ivory Coast, The Gambia and Mauritania, the last country in the world to make slavery illegal, but where many people remain in servitude.