Ending Child Slavery in W. Africa

$150 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 2 people in 17 months
In May of 2017, I traveled to Côte d'Ivoire and Mali to update the International Rights Advocates’ investigation of human trafficking and child slavery in the cocoa industry.

Despite claims by Nestle, Cargill, and other companies that dominate the cocoa industry, as well as several NGOs claiming to monitor the industry, child slavery remains rampant in West Africa.  I was able to easily gain access to several cocoa plantations in Côte d'Ivoire where child slaves were harvesting cocoa. Sadly, I have the photos and film to prove it.

Since 2005, we have pursued litigation against Nestle and Cargill in a U.S. court on behalf of former child slaves seeking an injunction and damages against these companies for profiting from child slavery. To read more about our case, please visit our website: http://iradvocates.org/case/africa-multi-country/john-doe-i-et-al-v-nestle-usa-inc-et-al.

As the case drags on in court, and the companies continue to make false promises of progress to consumers so they can profit from the litigation delays, we have no choice but to take direct action to stop child labor and develop rehabilitation and education programs for the former slaves. I am haunted by what I just saw and plan to go back as soon as I can to free the child slaves I recently observed.
We have a sustainable plan to end the abuse. We are developing a label for chocolate products that certifies the cocoa was not produced using child labor. In order to get our certification, plantations would have to submit to regular, surprise inspections. Each plantation would pay a small fee based on the wholesale value of raw cocoa produced annually to cover the costs of the inspections and earn a child slavery free certification. Likewise, the chocolate producers would pay a small tax or fee upon receipt of child labor free cocoa. These funds would go towards building and maintaining schools and rehabilitation centers for former child slaves. In this way, our program will eventually be completely self-sustaining.

I helped to start a similar plan that was implemented more than 20 years ago in South Asia to eradicate child labor in carpet factories. Originally called Rugmark, Good Weave has freed over four thousand child slaves and has enrolled over 20,000 former child workers in their schools. For more information about Good Weave and the success of their certification program, please visit their website : https://goodweave.org/proven-approach/impact/.

For more information about child labor in the cocoa industry, Miki Mistrata’s film, The Dark Side of Chocolate , is an excellent resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vfbv6hNeng[TC1] 

For more information about our plan, please see our full proposal here .

Your contribution will help us to jump start this proposal. Step one, which we are asking you to help us fund, is sending a team to West Africa to create an accurate picture of the current extent of child slavery in the cocoa industry. We would use this information to finalize our initiative and also to support our litigation efforts. In addition, Miki Mistrati will be there with us to film current conditions for a new documentary about the ongoing use of child slaves by major chocolate companies that will help us to educate consumers and get them to demand an end to child slavery.

With this foundation established, we will use market forces to pressure chocolate companies to finally take responsibility for how their cocoa is harvested and participate in our certification and rehabilitation initiative. If you can make a contribution, however small, we are also asking that you help us to name this initiative. Two suggestions we are considering are Full Grown Cocoa and Good Cocoa. Please become a part of this initiative by supporting it and helping to name it. Send your comments and suggestions to info@iradvocates.org.

––Terry Collingsworth
International Rights Advocates
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We are continuing to raise money to end child slavery in the cocoa industry. Please donate today!
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It's been nearly 20 years since Nestle and other large chocolate companies promised to address the problem of child slavery in their supply chains. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse.

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$150 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 2 people in 17 months
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