September 19th, 2011
01:51 PM ET

The human cost of chocolate

It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In Ivory Coast and other cocoa-producing countries, there are an estimated 100,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed by Western countries.

Ten years ago, two U.S. lawmakers took action to put a stop to child labor in the cocoa industry. Despite pushback from the industry, the Harkin-Engel Protocol, also known as the Cocoa Protocol, was signed into law on September 19, 2001.

On the 10th anniversary of the legislation, CNN takes a look at what effect this protocol has had on the cocoa industry. Here's a primer on some of the major issues surrounding the issue of slave labor in the cocoa industry:

Where does cocoa come from?

Some 70 to 75 percent of the world's cocoa beans are grown on small farms in West Africa, including the Ivory Coast, according to the World Cocoa Foundation and the International Cocoa Initiative.

Does Ivory Coast allow children to work on these farms?

No, child labor is illegal and since the implementation of the Cocoa Protocol in 2001, the chocolate industry along with governments and human rights groups have worked to end the practice. Yet, the U.S. State Department estimates more than 100,000 children are involved in the worst forms of child labor on cocoa farms throughout Ivory Coast. Some are the children of cocoa farmers but many other youths are smuggled into Ivory Coast from Mali and Burkina Faso to work on cocoa plantations, according to the International Labor Rights Forum.

What exactly is the "Cocoa Protocol"?

Ten years ago, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduced legislation mandating a labeling system for chocolate. After the industry raised concerns, a compromise was reached that required chocolate companies to voluntarily certify they had stopped the practice of child labor. The certification process would not involve labeling products "child-labor-free," as initially proposed.

Instead, it calls for public reporting by African governments, establishment of an audit system and poverty remediation by 2005. The deadline had to be extended to 2008 (read Fortune Magazine's report on the state of the protocol in 2008) and again to 2010. Today, many aid groups say some of the provisions have still not been met.

So has the Cocoa Protocol had any success in ending child labor in the cocoa industry in the past 10 years?

It's hard to say. Ivory Coast has had further economic problems following its civil war from 2002 to 2004. Chocolate exporters and manufacturers say the war and its aftermath have hampered their efforts to eradicate child labor.

"Honestly, it's hard to see anybody saying that this protocol has attained the goals that were set out in it," said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor rights forum

Chris Bayer, a Tulane University researcher, spent five years in the Ivory Coast and Ghana monitoring the protocol's plan and studying the scope of the problem.

"Unfortunately, over the last 10 years we have seen very little implementation of the actual commitments," he said. "Industry did not live up to the Harkin-Engel protocol. The issues are systemic. Children are still working."

The International Cocoa Initiative was set up by the protocol to bring all parties together to address the worst forms of child labor in the supply chain. The ICI board has representatives from the major cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers. It says progress is being made.

"Five of the six commitments made in the protocol have been completed," the group said in an e-mail statement. "And governments of cocoa producing countries, ILO, the OECD, independent foundations, members of the cocoa supply chain and ICI itself are ACTIVELY working on the sixth commitment - to improve the livelihoods of cocoa growers the infrastructure in cocoa communities farmers organizations, educational facilities etc. Substantial funds are being expended on these activities."

Read more about the industry's response

Stop the Traffik director Antonie Fountain talks about his group's efforts and the 10 Campaign

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin on the Harkin-Engel protocol 10 years later:

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Topics: Business

soundoff (348 Responses)
  1. cdimarco

    It's just crazy to realize that there are more people in slavery today than ever before in the history of the world. My wife won't be a big fan of this news....

    September 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • Kasmir

      Oh boy, here it comes.... The 2012 Movie of the year, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, a cocoa smuggler and a reporter become enmeshed in Ivory Coast politics and warfare in "The Blood Chocolate"

      September 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
      • Kid Dracula

        ....mmmm Hershey's with extra hemoglobin please!

        September 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
      • S

        haha, I bet snack sales will go up.

        September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
      • Guest

        I'm not sure I want to know where those beans have been....

        September 20, 2011 at 5:49 am |
      • Common Sense

        Hahaha...that made me laugh as much as this liberal article

        September 20, 2011 at 8:35 am |
      • skarrlette

        Everyone in this country lives in an ivory tower. I mean honestly what do you think is going on in the rest of the world?
        You think dirt poor people are playing buy some white guys rules to make money?. GIVE ME A BREAK!

        September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am |
      • jlv

        Let's all go to the Lobby, Let's all go to the Lobby and get ourselves some noncertified and socially irresponsible snacks.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • 42

      You do realise there are more people alive now than in the whole history of the world?

      September 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Reply
      • ClarkNova

        So you are defending the act of slavery on the premise that there are just so many people out there, it's hard not to enslave some?

        This is like a child abuser, on his second offense, telling the judge, "I know I've been abusing my children more than before I got arrested the first time, but Judge, I have more children now!"

        Doesn't sound much better, does it?

        September 20, 2011 at 7:57 am |
      • cliffton

        that's actually not true. There are more people alive now than there have been at any one point in history, but the total number of people who have lived is far larger than the amount of people alive now.

        So your point can still be made (larger population now) but without that common misconception

        September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Sponge Bob

      What slaves? Oh you mean the people who are not starving. You know the old saying. "you have to eat before you work"

      September 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Reply
      • Sponge Bob

        Sponge bob says. Have you vitamins!

        September 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
      • Shannon

        Parents "rent" their children out to people in other cities to sell candy on the street in third world countries like Ecuador. Until people stop having children when they can't afford them, this will continue. There aren't enough jobs and 40% are unemployed in this country. What role does the govt. have in continuing this cycle of poverty? Does that mean that they shouldn't have children if they are poor? Why is birth control frowned upon in the church when it means poverty for many? There are many questions that need solutions to this kind of problem before we can even start to judge.

        September 20, 2011 at 7:22 am |
      • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

        The Khmer Rouge would disagree with you. Work first, then MAYBE you eat. They would not be alone in this.
        Many slave owners treat their slaves as commodities, things to use until they wear out. There are no rules saying that slaves have to be fed at all. I realize sane, sensible people would realize that you get more work out of a slave that actually gets fed; i also realize that sane, sensible people are very much in the minority in this world. People will starve oxen, work horses, dogs and guinea pigs to death; why not human slaves as well? The sad truth is that these horrible, evil people know that there are always more where those came from.

        September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am |
      • Jakey

        Are you kidding man? Being fed by your employer does not mean you're not a slave. Being forced to work against your will, whether you're paid or not? You are a slave.

        September 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
      • Credenza

        @Shannon – The people ARE having children, and they have the right to do so. If they 'hire them out' to help feed the family, it's because people like the proven OBESE majority in America are feeding their fat, greedy faces non-stop, and eating themselves to death instead of sharing with the poor in their own country AND abroad.

        Still, what do Americans care about thousands of slaves "somewhere else?" With your country's penchant for the death penalty; the murder of ubnorn children; and the releasing of drones on women and children, I don't expect much else from your people. You have a blatant disregard for human life. It was very evident in the posts about the famine in Africa.

        September 28, 2011 at 2:13 am |
      • !

        everyone has their own views and opinions but this will never truly end unless people look a themselves and decide that they are being greedy and that there are people out there who need the money that they make and if the chocolate industries gave $100,000 to each farm to be evenly distributed between the people there then they could live a good and healthy life but even though the chocolate industry makes trillions more than that per year for some reason they cant give back!

        February 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Boskoo

      CNN gets more idiotic every day. Ted Turner must have full blown dementia by now.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Reply
      • The Analyst

        Ted was forced out of CNN by neo-cons who took over CNN and couldn't abide by his Populist sensibilities. I wouldn't cry for him though. I think Ted Turner might possibly be the largest land owner in the US outside of state or federal governments.

        September 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Richard

      The same thing will happen here that happened with the ship-breaking industry in Bangladesh. Well-meaning leftist busybodies will "force" a halt to child labour and the result will be families going hungry. Lefties, you have a terrible track record of your nutty ideas producing BAD results so stay the Hell out of this issue.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:02 am | Reply
      • heyabbot

        You sound like a Republican right-wing-weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-Iran douchbag. Shut up and go away. Moron.

        September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am |
      • Fighting4Justice

        Well then we need to do something else about them going hungry. you can't justify children being forced to work MOST WITHOUT PAY because it means that families will starve, it needs to go the other way. If these people weren't living in such extreme and terrible poverty then they wouldn't need to sell their children into slavery. Every single child has the right to be loved and cared for and if we cannot provide that for the children in our world then our world has no right bringing children into it. Forcing children into slavery cannot be used as a solution to poverty.

        September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am |
      • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

        Yeah! Screw humanity, where'z mah durn CHOCOLATE? Dang lefties!

        September 20, 2011 at 10:40 am |
      • Tom

        Here's an idea. Why don't we pay the adults a decent wage so that they won't be tempted to sell their children to bring in enough money to eat.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jennifer

      I would have loved a job as a kid climbing trees.... Beats washing dishes...

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
      • sam

        No tree-climbing involved, just whole days of walking among the trees cutting off cocoa pods with a machete, kids forced to work on Ivory Coast farms are often scarred by accidental machete wounds. Some of these kids are abducted in neighboring countries. A very scary, nasty situation for these kids, not a jolly adventure in the fields.

        September 21, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • k

      Why?...were you going to sue that as your arguement for making her a slave?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Fight Back Against Slavery

      If they are investigating this, then the know what farms and companies practice it. What about putting a ban against the individual Farms and Companies and not let there chocolate be imported into the US. Yes... the price of chocolate would go up but if we stand firm the Farms and Companies would have to address the issue eventually... Power to the People... We can make a choice that matters!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      The population has exploded in the last 1500 is it hard to understand that there are more slaves today then ever? The US doesn't care about stopping least not as much as it does people with a radical Muslim ideology.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • alumette

      It blows my mind as well but reality is : GREED. It comes from any direction on any level as we see people having no morals or heart taking advantage of poor people so they may make $$$. How long can this behavior last ? How long can we stay oblivious to these facts ? How long can we be blind witnesses ? I think our ignorant time is about to run out. Reality as KARMA is about to take its toll.....we have nowhere to run.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • Richp

      Most white tower liberal progressives in this country would be victims in most of the third world pretty quick, getting their dose of reality up front and all of a sudden. Like the tourists that go to a $1000 a day 'safari camp' and then get kidnapped from their sterile security environment, what a shock that must be when you are not expecting it.
      What can you expect from a country or region where aids infected men believe that boinking a sub teen virgin will cure it.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:33 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Whether your wife won't be big fan to this article, or this article be labeled liberal by cheer ignorance of world issues or simply American ignorance as well, the fact is that yeah....those Hershey kisses in your mouth are blood tainted. And get the picture straight about world commodities on our table daily. Yeah, bananas....are blood tainted too. Ask Chiquita Banana, former United Fruit Co., who led to bloody revolutions in Central and South America and every dirt-poor peasant was labeled 'comnunist' for over 50 years and 100's of thousands were massacred on the name of protecting our American interests in the banana countries.....then move to Indonesia where fought for the French defending the Dupont's interest and we ended in Viet-Nam war for over a decade..and read about DDT banned in USA but used in banana countries where child labor.! Yeah, some of the daily commodities that make our American life-style so desirable.....from cheap gas to chocolate....yeah...are blood tainted...we've simply looked the other way ......because our cheer ignorance ..believe or not..!

      September 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • Conway193

      II guess its all the white folks fault.

      September 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  2. Soulcatcher

    Would you rather things be made/produced/harvested by a child or a robot?

    teenagers in the US detassel corn, among other things.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • JayneD

      Though teenagers may be EMPLOYED to shuck corn in the United States, I believe that the article is pointing out that what we're dealing with in these imports is that children are being EXPLOITED (not employed) and brought into a country to harvest cocoa beans. Given a choice between exploiting children and utilizing robots, I'd take the robots anytime.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      Yes, teenagers in America do detassel corn... and they are paid reasonable wages for it, work under reasonable conditions, and are free to quit at any time. It's a huge difference. To compare child-slaves in third-world (if third) countries to teenages working in America is completely invalid.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Reply
    • Pixelologist

      I suspect that the working conditions faced by the smuggled-in child slaves in Cote D'Ivoire are quite a bit harsher than those faced by voluntarily-employed, compensated teens in the much more closely monitored cornfields of the U.S. You should do some reading up on the concept and reality of slavery.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
    • Ballson Chinn

      I would prefer child robots myself.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
      • Austin Buell

        Astro Boy Away!!!!!

        September 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
      • S

        as long as they aren't programmed to whine

        September 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • AuggieDoggy

      I prefer machines. They don't wipe their butts with their hands and fingers in the field.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Reply
    • COO1CHICK61

      OMG, are you serious? Comparing de-tassilng corn to working in child slave camos to pick, clean, spread out, rake, dray and process cocoa beans so rich, fat priviledged people can sit around and suck done chocolate they don't need anyway.....clueless.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  3. dudley0418

    Oh, good grief.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • ill

      wap wap, wap wap wap, wap wap, wap wap

      September 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  4. Outraged

    I buy my chocolate from Trader Joe's which places a "Fair Trade" label, which means there is no slave labor.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • Larry, Maine

      I don't trust the 'Fair Trade' label for much of anything. They often get involved with the product after it has been picked, making sure the rest of the food chain is protected, but can't police the many small farms that use ther own children as free labor, not even counting 'slave' labor. This process ignores most of the abuses of child/farm labor.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
      • S

        19 kids and counting?

        September 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
      • brown

        hahaha! There is a sucker born every minute!

        I'll bet you believe all of the 'Organically Grown' labels are truthful too!

        September 20, 2011 at 12:16 am |
      • PLJ

        I don't understand what's wrong with using your own children as free labor. People have done so for thousands of years. When I grew up in the 1970s on a farm, I had to work hard and with no pay. We all worked hard and for many hours. As soon as you could walk and talk, you started doing small things, and then harder and more, the older you became. There were still time for play.

        September 20, 2011 at 3:10 am |
      • forinfan

        @PLJ ... There's nothing inherently wrong with a family working its farm. There is something wrong with sending someone's child to the master's farm to work, especially if the master is demanding it or isn't giving a fair price for the land. In many cases, these children are simply laborers working someone else's land. That's the point of the story.

        September 20, 2011 at 5:32 am |
      • relative hardship

        PLJ, you still attended SCHOOL, got medical care if you needed it, lived with your family and when you turned 18, got the HELL out of there. The kids in Africa are just used and thrown away.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Souphah Kingsikovet

      "Fair trade" only means a reasonable market price was paid. It has little or nothing to do with how the product was grown/hervested.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • Kathie Lee Gifford

      You know, those Free Trade Labels are are made by 6-year-olds at a sweatshop in Guatemala.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
      • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

        Comment of the day!

        September 20, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • sean

      says who?

      September 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  5. Butthead

    I like slaves. I just bought two of them.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Reply
    • bdcftjuk


      September 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Reply
    • brown

      Did you fornicate with them yet?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 am | Reply
  6. Hadi

    I am a slave to Chocolate. And Chocolate come from slaves. So in conclusion, cocoa unit us slaves

    September 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  7. dudley0418

    How about the guy/gal who works 8 to 6 for $7 an hour, lives on beans and rice and still can't pay for the necessities – is just working until he has to live outside? Are they any less slaves? Fix your house, then go to your neighbors.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
    • sensible

      Don't compare enforced labor with voluntary labor. Don't compare the threat of being fired with the threat of being whipped. A 7 year old, enslaved child was beaten to death in Ivory Coast on a cocoa plantation. You just cannot compare this to an adult voluntarily employed for minimum wage.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
      • Eric

        You can't assume an equal comparison is being made.

        But the point still stands–plenty of people in the United States work bad jobs for bad pay. Can some elevate their chances by going to college or trade school or something? Of course. But can all? No. There simply isn't enough money to provide loans if all of these people were to go to college. Minimum wage won't pay your way through even community college, so yes, loans would be necessary. And when a criterion for securing a loan is often your income or ability to pay off the debt, a lot of people right now wouldn't qualify.

        People can be thankful to not live in slavery, to be able to go to sleep and wake up in a safe environment, all the while still having an extraordinarily difficult time subsiding.

        September 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
      • Karen

        Eric, yes many people in the US are having a difficult time. But, there really is no comparison to the Ivory Coast slave trade, particularly where child labor is concerned. There is no welfare concern for them. No healthcare, no workers' comp, no pay, little food, very poor conditions. AND, this is their CHILDHOOD.... so, no childhood either. US families are having trouble but they do live in a free country with emergency rooms, Workers comp laws, at least minimum wage, outlawed child labor, etc. There is NO comparison.

        September 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
      • S

        Karen, I believe Eric was trying to make the same point you are. I'm glad to know both of you on a first name basis haha. Sorry, just pointing it out.

        September 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  8. BethTX

    Totally worth it to keep my PMS in check.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • sensible

      Really? Enslaving a child? Would you support someone else enslaving and beating and possibly killing YOUR child to assuage their craving? Seriously???

      September 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
      • Mr. BethTX

        Obviously, you haven't seen this woman during PMS.

        September 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • BethTX

      Don't have children. Don't like children. Bad argument.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply
      • truefax

        here's hoping you never get knocked up.

        September 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
      • AmazedinFL

        That's a blessing. Given your views on child slave labor, you'd surely make a pretty monstrous parent.

        September 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • areyouforreal

      Really? that is not something to joke about whether you really mean it or not. and please spare us if that's how you actually think.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
      • BethTX

        Yeeeah, honeybuns, I'm for real. Take your bleeding heart and groove elsewhere, Moonbeam.

        September 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • Todd in DC

        The reason for all the snark here is, so what are we as consumers supposed to do? Give up chocolate?

        September 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Jess

      hope u get really fat from it!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
      • ronniereagan

        We can all take solace in the fact that Beth has self-eliminated her genes from the pool.

        September 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
      • relative hardship

        Ronniebaby, if a great many more people self-deselected their genes by choosing not to have children, there'd be a lot less poverty and suffering out there. Roll out the Depo-Provera among women all over this planet, starting (but certainly not stopping) at aid clinics.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • AmazedinFL

      What an entirely worthless human being you are Beth. I'm thankful that you made the wise choice not to have kids. You'd obviously be an awful parent.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Souphah Kingsikovet

      Beth, it does not appear to be working. You sound like a mega-beeotch. Please do not breed.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • Karen

      What a heartless comment. If you were trying for a joke, you bombed. If you were serious, you are really cold. I know its difficult (for me too) to even conceive of what child labor must be like....forced work in horrible conditions....but it does exist. So, please don't post such thoughtless comments.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • sean

      amen to that! Ask everyone whining in outrage on this page when the last time they did anything to help someone in THIS country, let alone another. Funny is funny! Not every life is precious.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • msk


      September 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  9. cg50

    Like they will amount to anything anyway. If they let them become more upwardly mobile like China is allowing their people to what then? You won't be able to afford your M&Ms, Folger's, McDonald's etc. What we need is as bad as it sounds is another world war. Too many people in this world that want too much stuff.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • BethTX

      Oh come on! Those children have bright futures. I'm sure if the slave trade were abolished they would all be college-bound. Never mind the retardation from lack of prenatal care.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
      • Souphah Kingsikovet

        So, you're mother obviously never received any prenatal nutrition. You come across as profoundly retarded. And morbidly obese too, I'll wager.

        September 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Keep voting for Republicans and you just might get your way...

      September 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  10. SaucyRobot

    I agree. End all the child labor, stop taking them from the families that can't feed them, stop providing meger or minimal food/clothes/shelters and let them starve naked in the streets. Give robots their chance to shine!

    September 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Herkeless

      It's something called the Freedom Dividend. It abolishes poverty where slavery is abolished, and follows a cycle. That separates abolitionism from charity work.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  11. mercenary76

    Blood diamonds or conflict diamonds , now slave or child labor chocolate . Sounds like the media is making it tougher for some to give gifts to their women . Every time you turn around someone has something new to worry about or crusade about . How about this , a leader in an unnamed country is mismanaging the country so badly that it will sink into the status of a third world cesspool unless he is removed soon . Fix that and get back to me asap .

    September 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • BethTX

      Oh, but that wouldn't cause the amount of bleeding heart drama that CNN wants.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Reply
    • AmazedinFL

      Figures that this bill came from Democrats. Republicans will scream until they're blue in the face at anything that stops a business from increasing profits–no matter how many people are hurt or killed in the process.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Reply
      • AuggieDoggy

        Hurt or killed in the process? Of what process? Getting paid to do dangerous work? People work risky jobs all the time, and tote their paychecks to the bank, no problemo? Hurt or killed? Where did that come from – the colony on Mars? "Give them more air Kohagen..,.!!"

        September 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  12. centsless

    Yes, we are surprised at our ignorance here but you will find similar moral dilemmas with coffee, oil, cotton, coal, nuclear energy, fir, forrest products and yes even (wind energy and costs to wildlife). If your research the source and production most of our raw materials you'll find that a dear price is paid for them.

    Think and decide. You pays your money and takes your chances in everything you do. Utopia is not here.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • AmazedinFL

      True, but it shouldn't stop people from trying to fix the problem and make life better for those suffering from it. Just saying "it happens all the time" and then ignoring it pretty much becomes an excuse to condone all evil in this world.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
      • AuggieDoggy

        Are you headed to the Ivory Coast to help out. I nominate AmazedinFL for a first class seat to Afrika...... help out the kids and yank bean pods all day long. Free at last, free at last, TGA, free at last.....!

        September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  13. centsless

    Yes, we are surprised at our ignorance here but you will find similar moral dilemmas with coffee, oil, cotton, coal, nuclear energy, fur, forrest products and yes even (wind energy and costs to wildlife). If you research the source and production of most of our raw materials you'll find that a dear price is paid for them.

    Think and decide. You pays your money and takes your chances in everything you do. Utopia is not here.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  14. Chicali

    I don't believe it...Ever tried to get a kid to do anything you ask for longer than two minutes?

    September 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

      Try using a whip. Folks in the Ivory Coast say they work wonders.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Reply
  15. Daljit

    Chocolate is not my families favorite flavor anyway, still can't believe we enjoy things like DIAMONDS and CHOCOLATE on the cost of little lives, cut limbs forced to do something they do not wish to do.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  16. PLJ

    It is funny how it nowadays suddenly is to "work as a slave" when a child is told by his or her parents to work for the family. I worked since I was 5 or 6, and yet, I grew up in a wealthy country. Sure I went to school, and sure we played, but we also had to work – a lot! Laws against children working don't apply when working for one's parents without a contract. It includes everything from household chores to hard work on a farm from morning to evening.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

      You idiot. That is NOT what they are talking about here. What they are talking about is taking children by force, coercion or fraud; sometimes even transporting them across international borders; forcing them to work against their will, for up to 20 hours at a stretch; maybe feeding them, maybe not; maybe giving them clothes or blankets, maybe not; maybe giving them a roof to sleep under (with dozens of others), maybe not; maybe giving them medical care when they are sick or injured, but usually not.
      If you REALLY want to compare this to growing up on a family farm here in the United States, I will enlighten your ignorance. I've worked on farms, I know people who grew up on farms. They were all fed. They all had safe places to live. they all got a doctor when they were hurt or sick. They complained about forced labor, but it was never at gunpoint or with men with whips and machetes guarding the fence lines. Don't you dare compare this to pulling corn tassels.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
  17. MalakaShakalaka

    Seriously, who cares? Chocolates are DELICIOUS!

    September 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  18. Chango Lee

    Get off your high horses, and off your computers. All that plastic, the minerals and metals it took to build your tech gadgets......go research into how those were produced. Ask the Foxconn people in Taiwan how that's worked out for them. And that's just the assembling part. Where are the minerals and metals being taken from, what country's miners are doing that job?

    September 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  19. FU

    We are all slaves, so your article is silly...

    September 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

      I'm sure the man with the machete made you type that while he re-tightened your manacles.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
      • relative hardship

        I'm well-versed on what menacles are but I am having very happy, yet naughtly thoughts on how "manacles" are applied. I'd like a set of manacles and I'd like to fasten them onto someone very naughty indeed. I bet he won't be cheating later.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  20. kimchiagogo

    i am starting to think that everything is made by a slave child. how about an article that lists like 5 or 6 things we can enjoy that AREN'T made by slave labor.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  21. Grumpster

    Oh well. Guess it's even more of a guilty pleasure. From tomatoes in Florida to Chocolate in Africa to gas from BP that makes us all slaves....I really don't care any more and will eat whatever the H#LL I feel like eating, wear Nike shoes, put lots of tomatoes on my winter sub sandwiches and smoke Dominican Republic cigars while munching on sugar cane from Hatie and do my weed from Mexico while snorting my coke from Columbia. If they stopped breeding like cattle, there wouldn't be so many mouths to feed.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  22. ScottH

    First I've heard of this issue but I'm not surprised. Follow the money and you will find the source of the problem, GREED. You'll probably find it is step or two above the actual farmers.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  23. Peter H.

    ok, really what does this have to do with me? I don't really care...

    September 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Reply
    • foolishness

      so shut up

      September 29, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
  24. Grumpster

    I just ate a whole bag of Dove dark chocolate squares. Mmmmmmmmm.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  25. Harman

    Whats better, die of hunger when you are 15 or work in a field and help feed yourself and your family. This utopian concept of ending child labor is not a realities in these countries. The governments of these countries have no money, parents are probably dead because of years of civil wars and famine, who is going to feed them if they dont work, you???

    September 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  26. Siyajkak

    It's terrible. no other word for it. Maybe if we gained our luxury foods fairly, and therefore more expensively, it would have the two-fold advantage of curing Africa of slavery and the US of obesity

    September 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  27. elle

    This abuse makes me sick - as do the insensitive comments here. The cruel indifference of this world to children is ghastly - not to mention the net loss to the country itself from wasted lives that with education could have been productive and even exceptional. Here in the U.S., I see pampered children of the wealthy indulging themselves ...they are so privileged that they actually believe they are inherently superior - just because they were lucky enough to have wealthy parents. I guess I don't begrudge a rich kid for being born rich, but the luxury of their llifestyle compared to the shattered lives in Ivory Coast and elsewhere fills me with despair.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  28. Fuyuko

    And the products you buy from china are made at factories which pollute the rivers of china and cause cancer and death.

    It is tough to trade with countries which do not place a value on human life.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  29. Karen

    Lots of inance and off-subject comments here. This is a serious issue. Not about Republicans or Connoly and DiCaprio. Not about diamonds or China or PMS. You all know that but you keep joking around. It's really a sad commentary on the kind of people who live in freedom. Thankful? Appreciative? Compassionate? Generous? Involved? All the jokers here should start their own blog. And, each month, get together and eat one of your members. Till there are none left.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Reply
    • SujathaR

      Just my thoughts, Karen. Most probably, these people have so much time on their hands and no brains to work with.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:49 am | Reply
  30. brown

    It is the way of the World. The cocoa must be harvested and so the beatings will continue.

    You Western peoples are the cause of these horrific conditions, take the chocolate out of your dirty mouths
    before you speak.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply
    • Ipploit

      Pardon me while I go to the store to buy some more yummmy chocolate

      September 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  31. Ipploit

    Holy crap, who cares! This article is useless, no one cares, people are not going to stop buying chocolate becuae of this. Diamonds are even worse, at least you can eat chocolate, natural diamonds are not worth a damn thing except that selfish liberal women love them.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • Mikein MN

      The point is to educate the rest of our species and get rid of the IGNORANCE that plagues our society.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • relative hardship

      Ipploit, most diamonds are industrial and are used in grinding and cutting. Very few end up cut and polished and for sale at high price to those who require a demonstration of committment. I wear $2 earrings (made by robots) and would much rather my man demonstrate himself by doing service work or fun activities with me. To me, those things are priceless and they certainly don't hurt anybody. For most men, they'd rather pay for diamonds because that is easier and more palatable for them then to demonstrate altruism or give up time in front of the TV.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  32. gstlab3



    IT'S DO OR DIE.,










    September 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY


      September 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
  33. Nitrogen

    I see that Capitalism is working its magical trickle-down effect once again.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  34. TNT

    You know what the problem is?

    The bigger problem is not the "bad guys" – – – The problem is that people look on and do nothing about it..

    September 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  35. mcalleyboy

    I really get tired of all this crap about kids working, good, it keeps them from stealing and they provide there family with wealth, they also learn a trade. I live in a 3rd world country and the kids need to work along with the rest of the family, they all work to put food on the table, these people pay no rent, they have a home, they don't eat well but they live better than you do, idiots stop this poor kid stuff. You need to look at your own lives and see, especially in the U.S. you work like slaves also, most need double jobs to make it, you don't own your home you rent and your money goes nowhere and you are slaves also working weekends, holidays, give me a break.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • sam

      This is NOT about kids helping their parents on the farm, this is about abduction and forced labour with no pay!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:44 am | Reply
  36. CFL

    For poor people living in poor countries the choice can be rather limited. Children are forced to work like slaves; they clearly do not have a choice. Where are their parents? They may not have the means to keep their children close to them and protect them.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  37. animallover (especially wolflover)

    i sooo agree with mcalleyboy. im not a kid person. im not a child person and they annoy the crap outta me. animals rock especially wolves. we should be thinking more about the earth and its creatures we r harming. there r plenty of people out there who will take care of this problem

    September 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  38. animallover (especially wolflover)

    and i will NEVER stop eating chocolate

    September 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  39. john smith

    This is great news, they're giving those kids a good work ethic. It's like an internship in the US...

    September 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  40. Aaron

    How did the industry get away with not being required to certify that their products were child-labor free? They must have went the normal route....really high bribes to the the Congressmen.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  41. Sunlight99

    Well you know it has to be all a bunch of hoo ha. I believe none of it. Michelle Obama was eating $40 triple chocolate cake and you know MO she would never eat chocolate if it was purchased from the blood sweat, tears, and lives of little children (second thought thinking of MO and her ethics... I believe it... no more chocolate for me).

    September 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • Ya No

      Rush Limbaugh makes 100 times what the Obama's earn, and out-bulks them by a factor of three – collectively. You know how well tabacos de Cuba and chocolate go together.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
      • Sunlight99

        yes, but everyone knows what Rush L. is. If I see him or hear him it is time to flip the channel. Unfortunately it is getting to be the same for me with BO. The only expectations I had for Rush was that he was a know it all, idiot, loud mouth. I had expected BO to change the country for the better.

        September 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  42. brown

    Tell the women to stop spawning these little baaaaassssstards from their fish holes !!!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:21 am | Reply
    • Choco-Crispy-DETH-BIRDIY

      Tell the men to stop raping them.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
  43. Victor

    They mean it, they don’t want to talk about it or share in public. That’s what rich people getting busy with.

    Do you want have a glimpse of it?
    I’m sure you’ll get interested with this also, like mine.
    Go to GO0GLE, type “BlueGoldHunt”, click the first site, and find out the surprise you have been looking for.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:52 am | Reply
  44. shura

    What is sad beyond just this article is that there are people who post out of sheer ignorance. When it is someone elses suffering we make light of it, rage against it and do so much to distance ourselves. At the end of the day, we are all connected and if one person is being a target of injustice, then that reflects on the collective, because we all create the world we live in by actively participating or by ignoring/ignorance. It doesnt matter if you eat chocolate, wear prada, and drive a nice car; none of those things MAKE you anybody special, the only thing that makes you human is your humanity. IT really is time for the jerks to end their anonymous rants and keep it real. would you say these things out loud, to your boss, or in your church. We must recognize that this human suffering is real, it is relevant and it needs to end. and that requires consciousness and sacrifice on all of our parts. TO ignore injustice dooms us all to a very dark life. Lets be adults here.........tap into your humanity.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:19 am | Reply
    • David


      I'll bet you buy made in pakistan soccer balls, and made in china tv's......

      September 20, 2011 at 6:35 am | Reply
      • Ya No

        david: very revealing. Your intellect and your (lack of) humanity are perfectly balanced.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  45. DEAN

    I live in Ecuador in South America. Our country produces very high quality chocolate from the cacao trees. We have thousands of small farmers growing cacao for their living. Many children work alongside their parents to harvest the cacao pods. Child exploitation isn't an issue here. Families work together. If the big Chocolate companies are really concerned at all, South America can supply much of their demand without child slavery. It's all about the money.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:25 am | Reply
    • sam

      Totally agree with you: not all chocolate is tainted. Even Ghana, a neighboring country to Ivory Coast does not seem to have remotely the same problem with forced child labor. As far as I know South America and Asia produce chocolate (or coffee) under reasonable conditions.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:48 am | Reply
  46. OMG

    there is business, there is evil

    September 20, 2011 at 2:40 am | Reply
  47. miki

    Here is the west and the US or call it a white trying to 'save' africa...we are a starving continent so having children working in farms is 'progress'.It's normal in Africa that kids help their parents in farms once they have some strength....a 12yr old kid starts to take on some responsibilities especially if the parents work manually to keep the family afloat.When will the west learn...leave us alone.You worry about greece and Italy soon the same thing might be happen there.Have you been to Romania or Ukraine?im sure similar things are happening there.Don't misuse the term slavery..we are very sensitive about it as history demands...what was the name of the chinese company signing the road construction contract with Ivory coast?welcome 'home' china and india..let the west think they will save the world

    September 20, 2011 at 3:01 am | Reply
    • Janice

      Wow. I appreciate your perspective, one I had not heard before.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:58 am | Reply
      • miki

        Janice i know my views might sound radical but how long can you tolerate being painted its the cocoa industry being aimed at wow.Kids help back home in Africa in farms wonder what's the intention of the article..hope i wasnt offensive...i worked on the farm...went on to study and im now a happy engineer with life experience no else has had...i cope under any conditions..i dont fall under pressure..many eupean boys cant face the challenges of life and thats why everything seems to be slipping away..

        September 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  48. Elle

    Here goes another article about children slavery... On chocolates!? They should just expose choc manufacturers/ traders/ brands that slave kids, period. I'm sure it'll put them to shame and get their act together to stop mistreating these poor souls.
    Btw I STILL love my chocolates regardless... Label me cruel if you like!

    September 20, 2011 at 3:03 am | Reply
  49. miki

    maybe this is good news for the look how we progressed...some people are still slaves so dont worry bout the ecomomic will just pass....If Ivory coast progressed im sure it would be bombed by Nato ...They would come up with some good reason im just wondering what is the intention of the they want to go there and liberate the kids?

    September 20, 2011 at 3:56 am | Reply
  50. Christianna

    Wow... the blood chocolate and blood diamonds... the women in rich nations have been the problem, after all, as usual.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:01 am | Reply
  51. Job

    In the Netherlands, one guy tried to get procecuted for eating chocolate, as all know that child labor is involved, eating chocolate is actually a crime. Eventually that case wasn't proceeded by the ministery of justice, as the implications of such a procecution would be so far reaching that it could mean eating chocolate would become illigal in the whole of Europe.

    In an effort to create an alternative, a new brand of chocolate was launched which not only used the fair trade protocol but had extra checks on child labor.
    Perhaps CNN can pick up on this story

    September 20, 2011 at 4:28 am | Reply
  52. Dude

    Sad but I bet there will always be slaves like this no matter what anyone does. The world will always have people with no hearts who exploit children in this way, there are parents out there who are willing to sell their children into this slavery, there are parents out there I am sure that are only making babies in the first place for the cash they can make from selling them into this slavery so take that and think about it. The only thing anyone can do about it is keep fighting it and hope that some children can be saved from this slavery they are stuck in, one kid at a time.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 am | Reply
  53. Rune

    Yeah, because only people in the west eat chocolate...

    September 20, 2011 at 4:40 am | Reply
  54. steve

    my chocolate tastes better now that i know only little hands touched it.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:44 am | Reply
    • steve

      now it is time to go to walmart and get some cheap chinese made goods by those other wonderful kiddies working 18 hour days in the sweat shop.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:46 am | Reply
  55. Frank

    It seems like tuna get more care than little Black children; at least the fish get a label and real change.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:00 am | Reply
    • amx

      a child has no color. be respectful. there's nothing as black, but only us.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:19 am | Reply
  56. amx

    To be honest, working is better than begging. Isn't it? Imagine, where would these children go if their parents are unable to make ends meet? When the governance is weak, and economy dwindling, work is the only means that can earn your bread. I'd rather oppose to child trafficking, and child begging instead.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:17 am | Reply
  57. David

    Anything for a low price? right?

    Any of you ready to buy a made in America TV?

    September 20, 2011 at 6:34 am | Reply
  58. David

    You all know there is no labor control over farming in the USA? There are children in the fields in the US every day for 10 12 hours. Get real. This is how agriculture works. Are YOU willing to pay more?

    September 20, 2011 at 6:37 am | Reply
  59. SujathaR

    Dear CNN,

    Isn't it time you had some policy to remove all these unwanted, irrelevant comments where people who are congenitally brainless fight over stupidities and foolish jokes and remarks? This was a much needed article that would open anyone's blind eye.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:37 am | Reply
    • Ya No

      Sujatha: They wouldn't have any idea what you are talking about. "Soulless" is growing at a pandemic rate, and it's adherents are driven, blindly, but driven nonetheless.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • eric

      It's scary to think that people are increasingly for censorship. What have we become?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  60. Godwin

    In many parts of Africa, it is normal to see children accompanying their parents to farms especially on weekends when they are not in school. I wonder what this writer seeks to achieve, except to call for the boycott of cocoa from Africa

    September 20, 2011 at 6:39 am | Reply
  61. Jayman

    Where would these kids be if everyone boycotted the Chocolate industry? Better off? I doubt it. They wouldn't be at home playing on their Xbox.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:55 am | Reply
  62. Clyde Israel

    We live in a world of contrast, one where the rich prosper with the poor and disadvantaged supporting their needs. I am saddened by this current state of global affairs. When will we start to say no with a voice that reverberates through the fabric of society and shakes us to our senses. 850 million people living in India on less than a dollar a day.....the list of inequalities in this world is extensive. Business as usual will just not do!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:29 am | Reply
    • Ya No

      Ask kristi, she has the answer – just don't care. Can't do that? Not to worry, you're not alone.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
  63. Scared

    Wasn't Nestlé who sent people posing as doctors to 3rd world countries claiming their baby formula was better than mother's milk? (google "Nestlé boycott). Seems like they (as with many companies) don't care how they make their money, but simply how much and how quickly. Maybe it is time to boycott Nestlé again.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:42 am | Reply
  64. Eyelander


    Buy only chocolate certified by Eyelander!

    We are a family company based in the Ivory Coast and we carry out farm audits to make sure no children are working on the farms.
    We also have a foundation with safe haven for children who manage to run away from cocoa farm, to take care of them until they are taken care of by organizations or returned home to their families.

    Website :
    Facebook: Eyelander Certify
    Email :

    September 20, 2011 at 7:44 am | Reply
  65. willywonka

    Well chocolate will never taste the same again. Is there anything left in this world that hasn't been corrupted? What's next, slave elfs at keebler, was the geico gecko kidnapped from his rock and forced to speak with a cool accent?

    September 20, 2011 at 8:14 am | Reply
    • Ya No

      The only activity in this world that hasn't been corrupted, is corruption, sadly. Greed and disdain for your fellow humans seems to have become the norm.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:32 am | Reply
  66. Marcelo

    I'd rather see children in slavery than seeing them getting fat in front of television....brainwashed

    September 20, 2011 at 8:29 am | Reply
  67. Common Sense

    How dare these people actually have to work for a living...sounds like the blacks here in the US on welfare,how dare i work for a living that's what white people are for.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:36 am | Reply
    • Ya No

      So, your 'common sense' has led you to believe that racism is a workable philosophy. I'm inclined to think that racism leads to resentment and violence. Considering all the races on the planet, the end result of your philosophy would be worldwide resentment and violence. I'd like to go in some other direction – any other direction. "Coexistence" perhaps might be a viable solution, as obvious as that is.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • IrishYank2

      There's a fine line between free will working and slavery. Also, how is this article "liberal"? Because it supports reducing global slavery? If that's the case, then I guess I'm a liberal myself. What a pig.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  68. Jukelo

    I for one am fully aware that most of the cheap products I enjoy as a westerner is made by poor people,even children, basically slaves. We all know it, and that's what makes stuff cheap. Thats what makes us able to have high standards of living. The fact that somewhere someone is working to death for us. Yes it stinks, but to have power you need to take it from someone.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:57 am | Reply
  69. Cam

    Is there a list where I can find out which chocolate brands would be best to buy and which ones to avoid?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:02 am | Reply
  70. Dolly Lama

    I am glad the children have work. I do think they should be paid and have some basics like breaks, food, drink for the labor and only so many hours per day. I am not against kids working. We are asked to send money for food and water to starving children? I would much rather they work than have nothing. If it helps the families then that is great there is some opportunity for them.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am | Reply
  71. Kihe_freety

    I think the Protocol has not attained its goal because partly, chilren cann't earn a living as they are out of Cocoa field. in addition, the resposibility also falls into the lord of the Cocoa field, they still want to take advantage of child labour!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am | Reply
  72. Dolly Lama

    Part 2 of this reply. I work hard and always have. The only ones that think something is wrong with work are the Westerners. There is nothing wrong with foreging for food as we see being done by children in Africa. There society survived millions of years with out MacDonalds french fries and big bucks.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Reply
  73. marisuela

    And yet... ALL of those "poor enslaved children" looked perfectly happy while they were "slaving away," for the big bad chocolate companies. Maybe if we "enslaved" more of the children here in the U.S. (in other words, if kids in the the U.S. were given ANY responsibility and knew ANYTHING about having a work ethic), maybe the U.S. wouldn't be such the hole that it is today! Did any of you bleeding hearts even listen to the commentary? They didn't know for sure that those kids were smuggled in as slaves. They had no idea who the kids were. He said, "maybe they are the farmers' kids, or maybe they're neighbors... but MAYBE they were smuggled in because they speak a different language...' This whole video is nothing but overhyped media speculation... AGAIN. You bleeding hearts fall for it every single time. Can't wait until they ask for donations to free little Sambo from his chocolate slave masters... all it takes is the price of one cup of coffee a day! Wait, doesn't coffee come from cocoa?....

    September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Reply
  74. Ya No

    A lot of these comments – beth in particular – sound like a Ted Bundy interview. Empathy, remorse, concern, humanity – as Ted stated, 'I have no idea what you're talking about'.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  75. Ya No

    marisuela: '..little Sambo...? I can only hope that Darwin steps up the pace.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • marisuela

      Yes, "Little Sambo." It's a children's book, "Little Black Sambo." Actually, the book is about a south indian boy who tricks some tigers into turning themselves into butter. Somewhere along the way, some black person – sorry – African American person speculated that, "Little Black Sambo" was a racist book against african americans. Since everyone is so afraid to oppose african americans, because they don't want to be labeled a racist (just look at what our current president is allowed to get away with!), they stopped publication of the book. I thought, "little Sambo," was an appropriate reference, since this video was all based on the commentator's speculation, and no real fact was mentioned.

      And, Darwin? Really???

      September 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  76. GetReal

    Chocolate's just another drug, not as harmful as some, but harmful enough. This is just one more reason I'm glad I don't eat it.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • james loveall

      why has'nt anyone mentioned the coca leaf as being the bigger problem??

      September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
  77. Kristi

    I have never heard of such a travesty...that I cared so little about...

    September 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • Ya No

      Selfishness, on it's most reptilian level. There are no doubt others of your ilk that feel the same way about you, and your children, and their children. Comforting, no?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Reply
  78. custom chocolate sawwwze

    I got 2 kids ill give away if they can produce me some custom jack daniels sawwwzee. I love my kids but not as much as I love chocolate! To slavery! Here here

    September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
  79. Eric

    Great. Yet another thing I'm supposed to feel guilty for. My breathing causes melting polar ice caps which is probably killing baby seals and polar bears. The roof of my house causes atmospheric heating. I'm supposed to drink 8 glasses of water per day but that's just depleting our fresh water supplies which means less water for starving children in Darfur. The car I drive uses petrolium and every time I gas up, I'm just giving money to the terrorists and that's on top of the fact that Al Gore is calling me an eco-terrorist for driving said car. My ancestors did, in fact, own half a dozen slaves 150 years ago so I'm sure I gotta pay reparations for that. My ancestors came to America 200 years ago and even though I'm sure they didn't kill a single Indian, I'm sure I'm still going to be held responsible for that. And now I've got the blood of children on my hands thanks to the box of Hershey chocolates I bought at Sam's Club over the weekend. Oh, and Sam's is owned by Walmart which they say has destroyed the mom & pop shops. Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed in the morning.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
  80. RollaRock

    I t is so sad that people who have never been to Africa, make stupid comments, some people are so insular, get a passport and travel, come down to Africa and experience a week in a cocoa plantation under the conditions these children are working in and then go buy your favorite chocolate.....Oh wait, how you going to do that, when you've been working with no pay and then again since you're in the field all day, means no education, which means you're illiterate, so the cycle will carry on to the next generation. You might think it's funny or post your sick comments because you're in the west enjoying you're air conditioned homes, well lit streets etc......Modern Day Slavery & Human Trafficking does not only affect one person, it affects a family and in turn it affects a village and in turn nation! I'm from Africa and I know how Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking can affect a child under the age of 16yrs old should be exploited or forced to work, every child has the right to basic education, basic health, basic living. I'm not saying don't buy chocolate, but be conscience of how that cocoa was harvested!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • eric

      Clearly you harbor great animosity towards the West. I'll make you a deal. I'll stop buying chocolates which should result in children no longer being used in its cultivation and processing. You, on the other hand, can stop receiving our food aide, vaccinations and money. You know, new vaccines are often tested on animals first. By you being the recipients of the vaccines we develope, you're indirectly causing animals to be subject to medical experimentation. Isn't that cruel of you to do?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • observer

      Years of civil war. main religions tribal and muslim with Christian only abt 20%. Newly installed president is from Muslim north, replacing previous president from Christian south. Tribal infighting/wars for decades if not centuries. Imagine how the lives of these children will "improve" under Sharia law. You can be upset about the problem, but look to the cause......rejection of western civilization and moral standards. They do not understand democracy. Illiteracy is 50% or more. Bandaids are fine, but you must cure the ailment. Jesus is the answer. He teaches us to love everyone to pray for our enemies and turn the other cheek. The Koran teaches hate/destruction of opposition.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  81. Robyn

    I have no illusions here. Child slavery is aweful. I will say however, that these children will not starve. They are fed. In a third world country that's a blessing.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • RollaRock

      No Robyn, in a third world country that is not a blessing, child slavery is child slavery whether in a first or third world country, whether the kid is been fed. Just a question, have you been to a third world country before?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Reply
  82. XPhaktor

    I remember seeing this on one of the networks nightly news shows. Sadly it will continue. Because people only know to abuse of others for their gain, in this case the cocoa farmers who only care of what they can gain, and not of those who are treated wrongly, and yet help them. As far as the "type" of article this is, why look at it that way? It is a wrong that has to be corrected.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
  83. james loveall

    what about the problems with the "coca leaf"...? I've read that it can be chewed for a mild cocane high.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • Dr. Patti

      Coco is a leaf that grows on a shrub in South America. Cocoa is a bean inside a pod that grows on a tree in many places, South and Central America, Mexico, and Africa. Coca is made into cocaine. Cocoa is made into chocolate. They are different plants totally.

      September 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  84. Cindy

    The solution to this is to find the cocoa companies that don't buy beans from those bad places and only buy their chocolate. Americans like to point fingers at companies a lot, but still buy their products because it's easier. Be a responsible consumer and you can stop these practices for any resource – clothing, chocolate, tomatoes in FL, etc.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  85. L.A. RUSS

    We Americans take for granted any & everything we consume, many of us with no awareness of the origin of which it came. Articles like this not only educate, but empowers the public to be proactive in world affairs that affects us all.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Bazoing

      Really, Americans are responsible for people doing terrible things huge distances away. Most of us work over 40 hours a week before taking care of out homes (assuming we are not unemployed and have a place to live) . So, we are responsible to change the world's diapers? People elsewhere have behave like adults without us. Sure the government uses the military to influence the outside world, but do we, or the corporations who pay for election campaigns, influence that? Even so, Africa needs no intimidation to make them abuse each other. You don't like Americans, go live there.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  86. MmmmChocolate

    Did anyone get the oreo fudge creams advertisement before watching this? Its a test.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
  87. Jason

    Believe it or not, fried chicken with a little chocolate sauce from a chocolate fountain is fantastic.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  88. bob

    i like pie

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
  89. Lauren

    So is there a way to know which companies are compliant so we don't contiinue to purchase from companies which are not compliant?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Ingrior

      Beyond the compassionate defense, of these children's plight, which may be all some, of us, here could give...this is an excellent question. I'd like to know, if that's even possible.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  90. ron

    Sad how once again many make jokes of others pain.

    Not my child
    Not my color
    Who should care bring on my food.

    Many of you probably classify yourselves as believers in Religion too

    September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • me

      The comments are sad. I've wished they would not post them. But at the same time I am glad they did. Then you can see which people are well meaning but different viewpoint and which are morally corrupt. There is value in conversing with different viewpoints. For the morally corrupt it helps to know right away so you don't waste your time.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  91. Helena

    Americans wore cotton clothes picked by slaves for decades. No one gave up their convenience then, why expect Americans to care now?

    September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • observer

      study your history. who do you think rounded up the slaves for shipment to the Americas? Their own greedy people or warring neighboring tribes. If they had joined together to refuse providing human slaves maybe history would have changed. But again, their animist religions taught them that humans are no more valuable than trees or insects.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  92. The RED Llama

    One word guys: Invasion. HHAHAhahahaa aha ha he he heh.... This article made me want chocolate.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • eric

      LOL!!! "Thumbs up!"

      September 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  93. Common Sense

    Get your cotton picking hands off my chocolate

    September 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  94. Susan

    We have children here that are treated as badly as slaves by their parents. Just look at all the children of crack addicts who use their welfare monies on their next fix and leave their children to run in the streets and starve. There are evil and ignorant people in every country and the solution seems to be non-existent.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  95. Utterly violet

    During the slavery years of the 18th and 19th centuries, most slaves toiled on sugar plantations, due to the very high demands of the substance. HIstory seems to be repeating itself.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  96. c602206

    Where is Derik Zoolander when you need him???

    September 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  97. Andrew Nutra

    WAAH WAAH WAAH, This is something Debbie Downer would write.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  98. S. Torka

    Children are easy to control. They can work in harsh conditions for no pay but at least they have something to eat, better than being somewhere else. Children are easy to get if you have the right connections. Not all of us (population of the world) knows the chocolate we're eating comes from children picking them.

    Those kids require no payment, insurance, easy to replace, and easy to manipulate. It's either being forced to work or not to work at all over there. Work or getting kicked out, risked of getting beaten, no food for some time, no shelter as well, and also, being sold to another place against your will or killed. Can we go over there and change it? Save them? Adopt them? ... possible but not likely.

    Why? It's them versus you alone (maybe). You can go over there and getting insulted at or worse. Adopt them? If you have the money, then go to papers of work, pay lots of money to take care of one, more premiums to your bills, etc. Unless your determined to do so, it's your choice.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • newt

      You obviously don't have children . . .

      September 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  99. timestickin

    Man I do love chocolate.. And the kids that are picking get fringe benafits no big deal I farmed my whole life too. it's good tecching skills..

    September 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  100. Sal

    I don't care what the cost. I want and love my chocolate.......

    September 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Anonymous random person


      September 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  101. newt

    This is such a crock. My wife and I were accused of being abusive parents because we had our 6 and 8 year old boys out weeding the garden while I mowed the lawn, and my wife and our girls (ages 3 and 4) were picking vegetables.

    How is teaching a child a life skill abuse? I can rest easy knowing that if worst comes to worst, my kids will have a good chance of surviving because they know how to work, and they can grow their own food!

    If there is any REAL proof these cocoa kids are being abused, then tell me which companies are doing it and I'll never buy from them again. But I'm not gonna up and stop buying chocolate just because someone at CNN said so. This whole run around and scream the sky is falling crap is nothing but worthless journalism.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  102. Leafonthewind

    I love chocolate. In fact, I consider myself an addict. How can I find out if the chocolate goodies I'm buying come from child or slave labor? I would be willing to pay more for my treats if it meant and end to such practices. I know some brands, such as those sold at Trader Joe's, employ "fair trade" labeling, but can that labeling be trusted?

    September 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  103. MozaikGal

    At least they're employed. (It's comedy, people!)

    September 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  104. rjack

    I am not sure what they mean by children still working. I had to work in my parent's fields, mow 5 acre yard, clean house, work on projects like wallpapering, roofing, building tear down, etc. From age 5 until I moved away at age 18. No or little pay, mostly did not want to do the work or like it. Whipping, threats, violence was not part of it. Also, we were fed properly. What is the problem, working or poor treatment while working? I am guessing the poor treatment.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  105. Anonymous random person

    I wonder if they make money. I bet they have all the chocolate in the world to eat!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  106. ready

    I exclusivly eat child labor candy. The tears of children bring out the flavor.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  107. KEQ


    September 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  108. Rudi

    whats new on our greedy planet....wwwTheDimensionMachineDOTcom

    September 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  109. aseghir

    Is the project made to provide a moral caution to its two originators? No wonder then it's made to linger on and on endlessly. Or is the project really and effectively fighting child abuse? (which is a different thing from child labour. CNN's news thrives on the confusion). I wonder.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  110. Bazoing

    The adults in these countries must eventually take care of their problems. The rest of us cannot be their wet nurses forever. Starving or not, you do not buy and sell children unless you are an animal. The third world reminds me of a little girl that was arrested while shoplifting to fulfill offers of money. Her parents said that another girl "forced her with a dollar." If the peoples of the vast third world work together they should be able to at least support themselves and their children without us.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  111. POI

    Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates...

    September 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  112. Dr. Sims

    I still love chocolate. I will still buy and consume lots of it because I can afford to. It's impossible for me to research how many children were hurt in the production of it, but if I knew I would not support that supplier.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  113. Dr. Sims

    The saddest part of all is that even if we Americans tried to help and the US completely stopped buying chocolate from these regions the children would probably be even worse off than they are now....

    September 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  114. southern_gent_from_mississippi

    Such nonsense. Every country has 'child slavery' especially the USA or dont you give YOUR kids chores to do? In farm country, most kids go out and do 'chores' before and after school. Come down off your high horses and grow up.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • Bazoing

      Most farming is now incorporated and they account for a tiny part of the population. You are writing propaganda about what you do not know. This stuff is read overseas and that is why people come here to sacrifice their lives killing us as in 911. I have spent 24 years of my life teaching and doing ecology work overseas, and the number of really bad people is about the same everywhere. However, most societies are worse than the US even though that does not excuse ours. Stop bashing Americans when the story is about extremes which would be rare here.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  115. Curt

    Money is the middle man to slavery...........
    We are slaves ourselves, people just refuse to believe it.....
    We need to earn money just to pay for mortgage, property tax, insurance, food...

    Can't even enjoy life to the full extent.. Because of MONEY.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  116. joe smcho

    I like slaves. I just bought 2 of them.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  117. Curt

    You can say we have freedom.. But we really don't we are forced to earn those dollar bills until we die from it.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  118. Curt

    It's amazing to me how I can have a dream, where my mind seems to create entire city's and huge beautiful buildings... Yet they have believe that it is all thanks to smart architect's... Like no one else could figure it out by themselves... I think the secret is we are all one... It's just the opportunity that is not equal.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  119. Curt

    It's amazing to me how I can create a dream with huge buildings and everything else... and my mind can actually make that world I live in turn against me................. Kind of like reality.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • Lyt Sol

      I love that you read things like this when you're high.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:42 am | Reply
  120. Curt

    By the way its called fair trade chocolate... It just costs a hell of a lot more money.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  121. fukital

    my wife comments (no wonder it tastes so good. it has childs tears in it.)

    September 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  122. hoodedone

    I'd beat Kunta Kinte for a clark bar

    September 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  123. solomon otu-anakwa

    we need to help these farmers in term of school ,healthy enviroments and pay them better wages of the cocoa beans.lets put our ideas to good in helping the african farmers than exploiting the mrs joanna scott you were off base about your industries help.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  124. Joseph Labule2408821168


    September 21, 2011 at 12:29 am | Reply
  125. lee

    By itself, chocolate sucks. It needs the nonchocolate ingredients, namely sugar, to taste good. I suppose chocolate chemicals are said to have some effect on the brain, but it still tastes bad without sugar.
    As for child slavery, it is an abomination. I worked as a child, but not as a slave (though sometimes it felt that way from my child perspective).
    Should we stop buying a product that is harvested or produced in conjunction with a practice that we find culturally and socially distasteful? Perhaps. It is a personal choice, and so it shall remain.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:54 am | Reply
  126. John Wicker

    I started to look into cocoa beans and where they come from after working at a warehouse that just imports cocoa beans out oh Philadelphia. It's a dirty industry from the Ivory Coast to the east coast (U.S) . After learning about the child slave labor I took some things into account. At the pier that I worked the employees are over worked and way under compensated. The cocaine conglomerates are maximizing their profit but any means and something needs to be done.

    September 21, 2011 at 6:01 am | Reply
  127. Dona

    Yet another example of Big Biz exploitation at its finest! and...
    In response to the disgustingly ignorant comments such as "Everyone in this country lives in an ivory tower. I mean honestly what do you think is going on in the rest of the world? You think dirt poor people are playing buy some white guys rules to make money?. GIVE ME A BREAK!"....please grow up and realize that many of these people in Third World countries were surviving just fine, albeit humbly, and supportng themselves independently by farming on their own small plots of land...that is until the huge multi-national corporations came in and stole their lands from under them which intentionally rendered them economically at the mercy of the very thieves that stole their lands. Good God, with the horrifying comments that I have seen on this article it is no wonder that the world is in such a mess with so much garbage out there!

    September 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  128. Martin

    Tremendous article

    September 22, 2011 at 6:24 am | Reply
  129. Jesse Mercier

    If we know that children are being slaves then why aren't we doing anything about it? Like seriously, If I had the chance to turn this around I would. Why don't we keep our factories in our own countries, and send it to the other Countries instead? Would we not make money?

    September 22, 2011 at 8:49 am | Reply
  130. Murdoc

    why are we latting kids make our chocolate its not right like how lazy are we in order to not make out own chocolate and we have to make others or even kids to make it mind you it is delicious.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:15 am | Reply
  131. arceon

    outlaw chocolate! legalize marijuana!

    September 22, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
    • Lyt Sol

      Legalize and combine.
      Certified Fairtrade of course.

      October 24, 2011 at 4:36 am | Reply
  132. Baruch

    Check out freetheslaves dot net to learn more about how you can help end slavery. Buy fair trade chocolate, which is available is most food co-ops and health food stores.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
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  135. Dr. Patti

    I live in Ghana, and most farms here are tiny plots of land on which farmers and their families grow all the food they eat, not just a cash crop. These are not giant plantations by any means. Cocoa is a huge export for Ghana, so please do not lump Ghana in with other cocoa countries that may use unjust child labor, and PLEASE buy chocolate made from Ghanaian cooperative cocoa beans. Desire Chocolate, or Golden Tree Chocolate which is made in Ghana. Cocoa farming will never reach the level of "blood diamonds" on the world scale of evil, and it is terrible to imply that it is. What many in the first world do not realize is that they might not know what they are looking at, when they see children working on a third world farm. Come to Ghana and see farm life first hand, then think about the choices third world parents have to make in order to do the best they can for their children. After the cocoa is sold, should the parents buy shoes, school books, or mosquito nets for the kids this year? Over here, this has nothing to do with liberal or conservative; it's just staying alive.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Reply
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    September 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  137. heather

    well good thing i am a chocolate snob & not so into hershey blech. the grocery store i work in has a health food section with YUM chocolate in it & is fair trade. mmmmm

    September 24, 2011 at 1:32 am | Reply
  138. Joe

    Ok everyone, stop eating chocolate NOW!

    Yes Now, including you with the 6 bars of chocolate in your office desk drawer... Throw them away, an immediate halt on eating chocolate will solve this problem, and some obesity, dental issues, acne etc...

    If the Ivory Coast needs little helpers let them employ Oompaloompahs.

    September 26, 2011 at 12:21 am | Reply
  139. ChimX

    The sweetest chocolate is made from the salty tears of little children.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
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    Why are there so many ignorant, disgusting comments here? Their lives are just as sad and empty as those of the slaves. And they know it.

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  151. julian maison

    I life in the area of brasil that grows cocoa as it's main crop, once the world largest producers the area in now only producing 4.8% of the worlds supply due to a hard hit in production from a virus that killed most plants. I wish cnn would stop constantly advertising that cocoa is all done by slaves children! brasil have very good labor laws, minimum wages, workers rights unions, even national health care programs and there alsolutely now children working the plantations, The last thing anyone here needs it the sale of cocoa to go down in anyway becuase of negative displaced advertising by CNN around the world, why don't you tell pople what companies cocoa comes from fare labor countries!

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