January 17th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

Chocolate industry responds

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

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

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

Sent CNN this statement and referred CNN to an industry spokesperson.
Reducing the worst forms of child labor is critical and requires the involvement of communities, farmer organizations, industry and governments. No single entity or initiative can solve this problem.

The Hershey Company has helped develop and lead all significant public and private programs related to the cocoa sector in West Africa for more than a decade. These initiatives include farming modernization, health, education, technology access and community well-being. Our goal is to increase farmer income, strengthe families and provide greater opportunity for children.

It's our hope that CNN will also include the perspectives of African cocoa farmers and government leaders who working to address these important issues every day.

Referred CNN to an industry spokesperson
Kraft Foods is working with others in the industry supporting the Harkin-Engel Protocol to work towards elimination of the worst forms of child labor in the growing of cocoa beans.

Directed CNN to this pre-written statement and referred CNN to an industry spokesperson
Mars Chocolate has always been and continues to be deeply concerned about the worst forms of child labor in West Africa. We don’t accept trafficking in any form and are working closely with others in the industry on a number of solutions. Children working alongside their parents or guardians at family farms is a part of many cultures, but when children perform dangerous tasks or are forced to work, it is utterly unacceptable. Lifting farmers out of poverty is the best way to enable communities to address labor issues and we are committed to do the hard work with governments and industry partners to achieve a permanent solution. In the past two years, we have been working in Cote d’Ivoire and elsewhere to address the cocoa sector’s challenges. Our goal in Côte d’Ivoire is to work with government, aid organizations, non-profits and peers to build a sustainable and profitable cocoa sector in that country.

Referred CNN to an industry spokesperson

Sent CNN this statement and referred CNN to an industry spokesperson.
As a signer of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, we underscored our commitment as an industry member to work to support the eventual elimination of the worst forms of child labor in cocoa growing countries. As this is a complex problem and concerning not only us but the cocoa and chocolate industry as a whole, we are working in partnership with other companies, governments, NGOs and civil society.

A key partner for us and other cocoa and chocolate companies in this effort is the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). I would very much like you to contact ICI since they can give you a holistic picture of what the industry as a whole has reached under the protocol, but also where more work has to be done.

Discussed issue with CNN and directed CNN to this statement:

Referred CNN to an industry spokesperson.

Sent CNN this statement and referred CNN to an industry spokesperson
Ferrero continues its commitment through private partnerships with many projects to reach our goal in 2020 to source 100% of our cocoa certified as sustainable. We also continue our commitment within an industry-wide approach, i.e. through "the Framework of Action", signed in September 2010 which provides a "roadmap to remediation" that helps guide and refine the development of programs and interventions to create a measurable reduction in the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Our mutual goal – a 70% aggregated reduction in the Worst Forms of Child Labour in the cocoa sector of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana – is ambitious but achievable – with a resolve and commitment by all partners to move forward.

Referred CNN to an industry spokesperson

Refused comment.

Swiss chocolate manufacturers are working since years to improve social conditions for cocoa farmers in the producing countries. Most of our chocolate manufacturers have travelled with us to Ghana and Ivory Coast to become familiar with the social problems in those countries. They committed with a codex to have a cocoa procurement system governed by the following principles:
- We want to know where the cocoa beans we use were originally grown (the principle of traceability) and will take a close interest in the social conditions under which the cocoa farmers and their families live.
- We are committed to fair working conditions along the entire cocoa bean value chain from farming to retail trading.
- We disassociate ourselves from any form of abusive working practices. We will periodically seek assurances from our suppliers that the ILO Conventions relating to children – C138 (Minimum Age) and C182 (Definition of Abusive Working Practices) – are adhered to.
- We support projects which increase quality and productivity in the cocoa bean farming sector and which improve the social conditions for cocoa farmers and their families. Key concepts here are: training programmes for the cocoa bean farmers; the creation of a socially relevant infrastructure in terms of schools and basic medical care; and direct sourcing from producer cooperatives.

The Swiss chocolate industry recognises the social problems behind cocoa production in West Africa, problems which are rooted in the great poverty to be found in the production countries. The Swiss chocolate industry therefore hopes that its activities and the implementation of its projects will lead to improving the financial situation of the cocoa farmers and to making an effective contribution in the fight against poverty. Sometimes it is difficult to achieve results in the needed time, because it is not possible to work normaly (e.g. the civil war in Ivory coast).

Today, Blommer Chocolate continues to provide leadership, guidance, and financial support in the industry wide effort to uphold appropriate labor practices. The Global Initiatives Group, the International Cocoa Initiative, and World Cocoa Foundation are all working with a variety of United States government bodies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as local West African governments and human rights advocacy groups are aggressively addressing this issue.

With funding provided by the chocolate industry along with public and private monetary support, these organizations are actively working in the farming communities. Educating farmers and their families on the newly established national guidelines on child labor and emphasizing the importance of school attendance. These programs have reached hundreds of thousands of farmers and their families. In 2009, Blommer along with other key industry members joined with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in creating the Cocoa Livelihoods Program. Over the next 5 years the 40 million dollar program will provide training to 200,000 farmers in West Africa in areas of farming technology, marketing and business skills, and child labor sensitization.

The industry’s efforts are comprehensive and sensitive to the cultural traditions of these regions. We will continue to work in concert with the local Governments, NGO’s and other stakeholders to help put the tools necessary to improve labor conditions into the hands of West African farmers.

Blommer has a long history of providing support to the cocoa growing community and is proud of the industry’s work on child labor over the past 10 years. This is a long term challenge and the work is not yet done. With that understanding, Blommer Chocolate will continue to help drive the reforms and provide the education necessary, so that every farmer family in the cocoa growing community can lead successful and productive lives free of the worst forms of child labor.


Earlier this week, CNN's Becky Anderson interviewed Nick Weatherill, the executive director of the International Cocoa Initiative, about the issue. (The ICI was set up by the protocol to bring all parties together to address the worst forms of child labor in the supply chain.)

WEATHERILL: The targets that were originally set were very, very ambitious, and I think as we've taken time to understand the complexity of the problem, when we start talking about social change and political change, as well, I think we will understand that those are not overnight processes that can take root, particularly in a country like Cote d'Ivoire.

At the same time, I think the progress that has been made - you refer to three percent of communities and so forth, this is the communities where we as ICI are working. These are - the role of ICI is, really, to be a catalyst, to demonstrate what can work and then to influence the actions of others to scale them up and apply them at a broader level.

And frankly, I think the conditions in Cote d'Ivoire for that scale-up just haven't been in place up until now.

ANDERSON: Sure. So, it's a failure.

WEATHERILL: It's not a failure. I think progress has been made and now, the question is, do we have the alignment of all the necessary factors to really sort of make the most of the momentum that we've gained?

Watch more of the interview

soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Tarek Alzaid

    this subject remind me of the land of cotton. It continued for many years, then disappeared for ever and ever, so one day this slavery will disappear. Sadness takes years and lots of tears,but never prevail

    Best Regards to you all..

    January 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
    • James Miller

      I would like to know where can I download a copy, crediting CNN, of this? I want to share with everyone I know about this. I can never eat chocolate again having learned this. If anyone from CNN reads this and is willing to share a copy of this please let me know.

      Chocolate is an indulgence, not a necessity of our existence. If one person at a time can make a difference then I want to be that person.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • alexbot

      First, the comments from the industries, a bunch of mumbojumbo nonsense, we don't approve we work with, NO YOU DON'T. Hershey you moved your jobs to mexico do you really think I believe anything your company has to say? Second, not a one said, WE WILL NO LONGER BUY IT FROM THEM? Oh noooooo, gotta make that money. Last I would be my last dollar not a one of those execs has been to the Ivory coast to see the conditions. As much as I love chocolate, i won't touch anymore and that is how to stop it.

      January 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  2. kevin

    I just got really sad that every people are enjoying those sweet chocolates and not really knowing on how it was really done. Maybe I'll be a little bit uneasy to eat those knowing that someone is deprived of it. It really shocked me for real.

    January 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  3. Gwen

    The Ivory Coast just ended a brief brutal civil war. The previous regime violently supressed any attempts at reform. If the new, legitimate government can establish some basic civil rights then there will be more of an incentive for parents to send their kids to school instead of to the cocoa plantations. Until then, boycotting the major source of income for the majority of citizens would be a huge mistake.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • ado

      Gwen, being ignorant is not an excuse. "The previous regime violently supressed any attempts at reform." What did you attempted to do, or did you do to reform child slavery in ivory cost that was violently repressed? Could you please describe the violence repression you were victim of. Could you please the branch of the regime that victimised you?
      Be brave, at least one time in your life to clearly expose a real situation. Do not hide behind generality or ear say.

      January 20, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
      • Jim


        Gwen never said SHE was suppressed. She just pointed out that there was a change in leadership and that she hopes the new leaders address the issue.

        January 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  4. Dawn

    Don't we have better things toworry about then how we get our chocolate. This has been going on for years. Maybe, everyone should start worrying how these children are feed, housed, and clothed. Maybe, this is how they make a living, and work never really hurt anyone did it. I wish I could pick some beans, over here in America, maybe I could pay my bills.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:30 am | Reply
    • allenwoll

      WHAT a CREEP you are ! ! !

      January 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
    • Julie72179

      Since you think it's not a big deal, why don't we send your kids over there for a couple of years? They can send you back the "money" make......

      January 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • ENC Stop Human Trafficking Now

      Dawn, are you being deliberately obtuse? Child slavery is ok because it's been "going on for years"? If everything that has been "going on for years" was ok, women wouldn't be able to decide whether or not to get married, couldn't own property, and definitely couldn't vote. African Americans would still be considered property.

      And you miss another point, picking the beans WOULDN'T earn you money–that's why it's called slavery.

      And no, work doesn't hurt able-bodies adults who make a choice to accept a job. But, YES, it does hurt 7 year olds who should be in school.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
    • stan the Man

      Guess the horror of it hasn't Dawned on you yet.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      They're NOT getting paid...you idiot!...that's why it's called SLAVERY!
      Look it up.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
  5. allenwoll

    Only the object here - chocolate - is different : The story remains about the same.

    BOYCOTT is the biggest part of the answer ! ! ! - The rest of the answer is JUSTICE ! ! !

    The executives and stockholders all up and down the line - from raw chocolate to chocolate bars to fancy boxed chocolates, including Hersey, et al and Wal-Mart - even advertisers for these products - belong in a nice comfy prison cell, or perhaps one of our sunny hard-rock desert prisons out here in Arizona. . We ARE crowded, but we can find room for THESE ! ! !

    There is NO excuse ! ! !

    January 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  6. Linda

    How is this a complex problem? The problem is identified – gross abuse of children. The solution is simple. Chocolate manufacturers should not buy product from farmers using child slavery. And no, Dawn, we don't have better things to worry about. Issues don't get more important than the life and well-being of a child. Any chld.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Mercyme

      Linda! You said it beautifully! Did't we hear these same excuses in the past concerning children victimized by preditors? Since when was child slavery a "don't ask, don't tell" issue? No excuse of "didn't know" is remotely acceptable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Reply
      • gstlab3

        yeah they know.,

        and you know what else they buddy???t

        if it was'nt for cheap child labor your diet would suck and you would not know many of the worlds fruits and vegetables you have today.

        The Farmer would not exis if not for these children wherever they came from.,
        It could be that he has His many wives and his many children working for beans they would be doing it or these children of war torn stone age nations in africa would be doing it.
        I know you can pay for it all yourself and go to the nation where you can grow your own chocolate beans!!!!!

        January 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  7. evelyn

    Boycott IS the answer-everyone- everywhere, NOW. With Valentine's Day coming the greedy corporations would be beside themselves if forced to reconcile with a world wide boycott on chocolate. No one should eat a piece of chocolate again until those children are set free and taken care of humanely. This really isn't rocket science Don't buy it Don't eat it.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  8. Mercyme

    I had no idea. The comments from the major chocolate industries sound like legalese to me. I threw away my Hershey bar when I read about this child slavery. Never again will I eat chocolate until the industry stops buying from slave owners and hiding behind spin doctors!

    January 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • JessaRenea

      It isn't just about throwing away the chocolate bars. I think we need to boycott every product these companies like Nestle make, there are enough companies out there, we can find alternatives.

      August 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  9. heather

    As much as I think Dawn's statement was misguided and ignorant. She does ask the question: why are we not worried about how these children are being taken care of? I think anytime we allow children to be abused we are creating future derision and division amongst humanity. Not one of the chocolate corporations spoke directly about what they were doing to stop this problem. The choice is ours, make these companies take responsibility for their non-action in this matter! We are not lemmings and we can be the voice these children do not have.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  10. James

    What are you going to do? Slavery has existed forever and will continue to exist forever. It is unfortunate but if it isn't the chocolate industry exploiting the most valuable, it will be someone else and other industries do exploit the most valuable.

    This news wont make me think twice before eating a candy bar.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • gstlab3

      James dude chill out man.,
      It will not exist forever.
      It may be here for a good while longer but we will either evolve and create the free energy and devellope the ability to get off this little blue rock or we will all die when the Sun explodes into Super Nova a few million or billion years from now or may be it happens tomorrow??? it will happen some day for sure if we're lucky it wont.,

      I guese depends on the day you're having i'dd suppose??

      January 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  11. Tomas

    Sad it may seem to many of you on this site to know the fact now, I have to say there're millions of other things you'd loose sleep over if each industry were honest enough to report the abuses taking place at the very origins of their products for consumers. Question is, does chocolate producers care about child-labour in any african country? The answer is, they don't. Infact they're willing to sacrefice ethics for a gain of profit as long those Ivorien kids are not white or their own kids for that matter.

    Speaking of child labour in an African country is just to sell the story and nothing more.

    On a personal note, I've done to "child-labour" jobs on cocoa plantations in San Pedro Ivory Coast to pay for my own education after I lost my mother. Was it fair then? No. But the very root of the said problem is deeper than just childlabor. There's no childprotective services in any African country where the endless wars are constantly fought for resources control and political influence. If the children are denied their right to work, how are they going to survive? I am in an American University today, but my journey started with war at home, childlabor (cleaning shoes on the streets, feeding pigs, farming and selling sugarcanes and corns, fishing and selling fish and snails, and carrying bags for politicians and businessmen etc) in Ivory Coast. Africa is not America. When all these wars commence, the kids must carry guns to protect themselves, or become childlabors for an education in a life with no one else to help them survive. I represented unaccompanied minors refugees kids in Ivory Coast. Like myself, before they became teenagers, they had to work to stay alive. If we care about ending childlabor, we must first of all be ready to feed, educate, and shelter the kids before making any move to cut their eating throats by making laws that'll deny them chances to fence for themselves!

    January 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  12. gstlab3

    If you all would get off your self righteous buts and think for one minute you would see that these children would be dead or worse without this work.
    The farmer raises what will grow where he is and trades locally at the nearest place he can get to for a fair price or trade.

    These are stone age backward places and we somehow continue to think the entire planet is supposed to instantly magically change and contain at least one strip mall and seven eleven for each paved city block.

    There are far worse things going on right here in the good old usa if you ever paid attention at all you all would know this all ready.
    cnn is just a tool of distraction like most of the rest of these "news" reporting groups.,
    i think most of it is all to keep our eyes off the real game ball.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  13. gstlab3

    I see if you stray from the program here you get moderated or at least threatened with it!!!!

    Freedom my but.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  14. gstlab3

    I'm harsh but I'm fair to all sides.
    Reality is hard to think about sometimes.

    The news hates reality.
    Spin Spin Spin.
    It's mostly a huge distraction from the real game of stealing a whole country the united states and then the Planet itself.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Abigail

      If she doesn't like strong fefcoe, why not suggest 1/2 strength or 1/4 strength fefcoe [half or a quarter of the normal amount of fefcoe] So that the coffe is mainly just made of milk. Also getting decaffinated fefcoe isn't as strong, though will usually cost a bit extra [40-70c extra usually]Great fefcoe drinks for Summer are:Iced Lattes [often they come in hazelnut, caramel flavours, etc]Iced CoffeesIced Mochas all usually come with whipped cream ♥ If you don't want to go with fefcoe at all, why not suggest an Iced Chocolate;;; Most places will basically make them with:Icecream, milk, chocolate syrup and whipped cream on top if you request it

      April 8, 2012 at 5:24 am | Reply
  15. ceiling fan

    Blah blah blah... supply chain blah blah blah... supply chain blah blah blah... aggregated blah blah blah... due diligence blah blah blah... We will periodically seek assurances from our suppliers blah blah blah... corporate-speak blah blah blah...

    January 20, 2012 at 1:58 am | Reply
  16. davdi burns

    Kraft? You mean the company that is owned by a cigarette company? The one that promotes smoking for kids in many countries? And you would expect them to be truthful about chocolate and kids?

    January 20, 2012 at 5:33 am | Reply
  17. Ciaran kelly

    Congratulations CNN for bringing these issues to our living rooms.I am shocked from looking at your report from the Ivory Coast on the Chcolate Child Slaves.I called Nestlé two years ago on this matter as my company uses chocolate products daily but they and other chocolate companies are more interested in profits before people.Many of the countries that are involved in the cocoa industry receive aid funds from U.S/E.U/ United Nations etc. and this is what they do to their people!
    Let's hold these governments responsible and the chocolate companies accountable.Enough is Enough !

    January 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  18. Jack Haynie

    I am a global businessman. Global companies have got to understand that responsibility to shareholders and to society have to coexist. No shareholder will balk at 1.0% of net income going to solve this problem. Wake up executives – you will gain better shareholders than, proven, greedy banks if you are both shareholder and socially responsible.

    January 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  19. Thabo Ntshinogang

    Blaclist all chocolate producing companies that benefit from child labour & don't consumer their products just like what was done for blood diamonds!

    January 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • justsane

      my thoughts exactly!

      January 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  20. Luciano

    If the parents have a good and descent salary to raise their kids then child slavery will be avoided.

    January 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • llatchford

      Often once the situation is created...ie. child slaves, it really does very little to hypothesize how to go back and somehow make sure that the parents make a sufficent living before having children.

      The real issue is how to take the situation at hand now, the reality now, and put resources and efforts forward to improve recognition of the situation as slavery.

      From there the individuals running these operations need to be educated –if they are not going to pay their slaves, then it is in their best interests to properly care for and educate them. This kind of mandate only comes from the top, from those who pay the prices for the cocoa beans- in our case, Hershey.

      The reason the Hershey Company will not incentivize this type of care for the workers/slaves is because it is precisely what drives up the price of their beans. Consequently the products which we in turn purchase become more expensive. Ask yourself- are we willing to pay the price for higher quality of life halfway across the globe?

      February 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  21. Luciano

    This instances should have a great impact to the chocolate manufacturers and if the parents have a good and descent salary to raise their kids then child slavery will be avoided.

    January 21, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • Ryo

      Great post, Adam! This is also a great time to get an accountability team totegher. Set regular check-ins and move forward towards what you need and want with help. Traumatic times call for support, motivation and momentum. It's also a great time to re-assess and take stock: are you pursuing what really drives you?

      July 3, 2012 at 4:55 am | Reply
  22. Moussa BATHILY

    Child slavery exists not only in cocoa farms but in all sectors such gold mining where children are in contact with very dangerous chemical products like Mercurius.
    It is an evidence of poverty and people attempts to survive by any means. Fighting it is the same than fighting poverty. Its a very complex issue that requires the combination of all possible means to provide subsistence to the most poor families around cocoa production areas so that they would not need to sell they children to work in farm but rather let them go to school.
    I found this initiative very useful but I do believe that child labor/slavery should be addressed globally in order to provide sustainable solutions.

    January 21, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
  23. Muhavi

    It is all in the hands of the CONSUMER! We need to organise a worldwide protest and abstinence of chocolate for at least two days, as long as we continue discussing, debating, condemning and consuming the dirty chocolate as the same time, then I believe we are lying to ourselves.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • tsalex

      i share your point of view even if it seem radical enough.......; i know also that much villager are willing to work if they gain enough morning, so if the price of raw chocolate can increase considerably, i will not be longer a matter of children.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:42 am | Reply
  24. Michael Cohen

    If people want to work let them work. Let the people make that choice. Who are we to sit there and judge that children shouldn't work for their living. If i was a child in one of these countries and somebody paid me some money to make chocolate then i would do it. Especially if it meant that i could put some food in my stomach. Everyone just looks at the surface level and makes a decision that child labour is unacceptable. Nothing is unacceptable (except harming others) when it comes to feeding ones hunger. You try going without food for a week, and then turn down someones offer to pay you £2 for a days work of chocolate making. I don't think you would turn that £2 down. Everything, including labour and wages are subject to an individuals situation.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • LisaH

      The problem isn't child labor, it's child slavery. The children aren't being paid for the work they do, and are barely even fed and clothed.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
      • robertomkat

        I believe that those kids are not locked up.....and i don't consider them as slaves...I think they looked healthy. When i was 12, i used to accompany mom to go to the market, i helped her carried the basket....When she aged, i took over ...and even learned how to cook... I remembered watching her cooking in the kitchen after we get home from the market.... I think this issue here is over exagerated.

        February 18, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • robertomkat

      I agree.

      February 18, 2012 at 9:57 am | Reply
      • Romeo

        I have been a fan of this company for a while. Their otcoclahes have become one of my must haves for gift giving and if I plan on being a way from a source of their chocolate I'm likely to pick up a little extra to tie me over until I get back. It is great to see such a wonderful product made right in Newfoundland. They have a product that is second to none and it is great to see this company start so small and grow to have a expended all of their chocolate lines and holiday items. I hope this company continues to grow and expand.

        March 4, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  25. Bea

    No more Hershey's for me..they are not Free Trade certified. If Divine Chocolate can do it, why not Hershey.....FORGET YOU HERSHEY.

    January 22, 2012 at 1:52 am | Reply
  26. Paul Stapleton

    Just wondering if child chocolate labor is abolished, will some families actually suffer from lack of income and end up being worse off?

    January 22, 2012 at 6:16 am | Reply
  27. Jasper

    Start with buying fair trade chocolate

    January 22, 2012 at 6:20 am | Reply
    • Tiff

      Thank you for the site Jasper. I will not be buying chocolate ever again.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  28. Okpaku Austine

    These children should be identified and the chocolate companies must be mandated to pay them off and return to their families.

    January 22, 2012 at 6:27 am | Reply
    • tsalex

      why not? since these children are still their main supplier (debtor)

      February 21, 2012 at 6:51 am | Reply
  29. matthew naidoo

    This is moraly unacceptable I this we should boycott chocolate purchase and bars should have the source of origin on each packet. My kids agree. We boycott: 27825170021

    January 22, 2012 at 6:37 am | Reply
  30. Manuel

    Here in the netherlands we have chocolate brand which is 100% slavefree, it is "Tony's Chocolonely".
    other brands should follow their example, they prove it can be done.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  31. Brenda

    I think that industry is too disconnected from the local farms that actually supply the product. Industry needs to become more proactive about ensuring that local farms are not smuggling children from nearby areas. It's incomprehensible to me that these large corporations that are known to be quite efficient cannot control what happens with suppliers. The issue here is obviously money. It is cheaper for the industry to turn a blind eye to what happens on the ground.

    I believe that we, the consumers, can play a large role here by demanding that the source and working conditions of the chocolate be known. I love chocolate, but am willing to stop buying it to protest grotesque working conditions on the ground.

    Brenda from the USA

    January 24, 2012 at 6:09 am | Reply
  32. jRobert Durham Abington PA USA

    Child slavery to bring us in America chocolate continues. Somebody tell me what can I do to stop it?
    What can I do to help this boy I saw today on CNN world go to school and not be a slave.
    I am glad Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa is concerned.

    January 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • llatchford

      Why don't you try and send a little note to the Hershey company- direct link to website http://www.thehersheycompany.com/contact-us/contact-us-form.aspx

      February 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  33. chioma Egube

    Some of you has made comments on how to End child slavery but that is not what we should be concerned with,we should be concerned with how these children can be taken care of,how Fed,clothed and given better opportunities like sending them to school and raising funds to cater for their Education,we should come up with solutions on how to give these children better and improved standard of living,we should come with solutions, if you stopped these children from working on the cocoa farms and do not provide with something beneficial to do,how does it help them? If you stop eating chocolates,how does it help these children? If you stop buying from the manufacturers that buy from the farmers that use these children ,how does it help the children?

    January 26, 2012 at 5:45 am | Reply
  34. hallometsteven

    Nestlé and Fairtrade Foundation invite farmers to York to celebrate two years of Fairtrade certified Four-Finger KIT KAT. Farmers and Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fairtrade Foundation UK meet with Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders at Manor School on the 26th January.


    January 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  35. Alvin York

    Off hand it is difficult to say if the chocolate I ate today was produced with the aid of children slaves! I have to say I enjoy the dark chocolate late at night before bedtime, if it is the result of slaves I must say they pick some mighty fine chocolate and thank you!!! Have a great day!

    February 8, 2012 at 12:17 am | Reply
  36. robertomkat

    When i saw those kids on tv, i don't see anything wrong about preparing kids at very young age how to be independent, self reliant and be productive.Besides, they get the benefits of physical fitness outdoor .What the western countries don't really understand is, this is the way life in most third world countries. I've lived in the United States of America....I'm not speaking in general but what i've observed with the kids there.... they were so brat, they love to watch tv, scate board, parents care less wether they've done their homework or not with the exemptions with most Asian American parents. American kids have so much freedom and tend to grow up being disrespectful to their parents. I assure you that these kids....when they turn 18, they are not being kicked out from home....because they play very important role in a family...even taking care of their elderly people in the family. Please, live these people alone...if you have money to donate or to sponsor some of these kids to get schooling, that would be great! But let me ask you...would the white Americans ready to work as laborers..... I believe that there are strong demands in hands on jobs more than white collar jobs, so let the third world countries do their own things...You don't get it people!

    February 18, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
    • tsalex

      all you're saying is somewhere true; we don't ask children to stop to work but at least, they need to be paid for their work in order to be proud of what they are doing. even if it's through their parents!!!!!!! i will not be so annoyed if ,on the TV they was well clothed, working with appropriate equipment,in normal condition of live ....

      February 21, 2012 at 7:13 am | Reply
      • Brayan

        i need a skiing break to enjoy hot cahoclote (mayinfa3 weya jawna) heheeh but i love the way it's done in Switzerland with fresh milk and REAL cahoclote they usually top it up with cream chantilly and a piece of cahoclote that sinks in (and in the end u have that lumpy cahoclote waiting in ur last sip) or a sable cookie half dipped in cahoclote on the side :'( I WAAAANNNT!!!

        April 8, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  37. Mduduzi

    Even some of those kids look healthy like one reader said,truth be told,they need to be in school preparing for their future.They have no future working in those fields.How are they going to face the outside world when they leave the cocoa fields?This is wrong!!!

    February 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  38. flowermissing


    March 29, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply

    I love chocolate but there is an alternative to a full boycott and thus not eating the stuff. Just buy fairtrade. It's a little more expensive, but that's because the people who produce it get paid a wage, and aren't children.

    June 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
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    What I think the real root of the problem is, is the poverty and social conditions in those parts of the world that force parents to send their children to work instead of die next to them out of hunger. Like some people have commented, I believe it's true that if we all one day boycotted all these chocolate companies, thousands of these children and farmers would suffer (even more) because their one source of making a living and putting the little food in their stomachs has been taken away. It's a double-edged sword. The real question in my belief is not how do we stop the cocoa industry from using children as slaves /workers but what is the cocoa industry (& us, & governments) doing to improve the lives of these children and their families so that the children don't have to work anymore. Is it in the best interest for these multi-billion dollar chocolate companies to improve the lives of these people? What is going on with the cocoa industry is nothing but an extremely small percentage of all the other social related problems in the world. If you have poverty and purposeful lack of aid, these problems will continue to exist no matter what industry it is. But for now, definitely boycott, 1 step forward is better than no steps at all 🙂

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