According to the Washington Post, Hershey will invest $10 million in West Africa to help reduce child labor, while improving the cocoa supply.
Spokesperson Andy McCormick said “that West Africa produces 70 percent of the world’s cocoa.”
“McCormick said that West Africa produces 70 percent of the world’s cocoa.”
The article continued, “combined with coffee, the cocoa sector in Ivory Coast accounts for 15 percent of its GDP. Cocoa production hit a record 1.48 million tons in Ivory Coast in 2010 despite a political crisis.”
According to estimates by UNICEF, 600,000 children work on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast, and 35,000 of those are victims of trafficking.
Over the last 10 years, cocoa companies have pledged to help reduce child labor in the fields; however, the helps has only reached three percent of the cocoa fields. In the last TEN YEARS.
Child labor and the trafficking of children are serious problems in many parts of the world. I understand that many countries and companies have pledged to combat this injustice. But, I am sorry, I cannot believe them until I see change. For years, countries and companies have been pledging to eradicate this injustice and stop using children as weapons of war and as labor; however, both are still being used. And governments have done little to prosecute those who have broken international and national law by using these children. That is because the reality is that child labor is cheap (if not free) and it maximizes profit.
Until I see results, I cannot believe these pledges. Too many times I have seen governments and companies saying they will do one thing, only to do another. It is all about profit at the end of the day, and until these agencies can find a way to not use children and have the same end profit result, sadly, children will be used to benefit others.
Read this for further reading.