The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Child-labor chocolate

Chocolate lovers looking to sweeten their Christmas holiday should take note: The chocolate they buy may have been produced, in part, by forced child labor.

On Oct. 1, the U.S. Chocolate Manufacturers Association, the World Cocoa Foundation, and Hershey, M&M Mars, Nestle and World's Finest Chocolate signed an agreement acknowledging and taking responsibility for reports of child slavery and exploitation on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast, West Africa. That area provides 40 percent of the cocoa used by U.S. companies, and in 2000 the State Department reported that 15,000 child slaves work there on cocoa, coffee and cotton farms.

Human rights and labor organizations, with the support of the chocolate companies, plan a widespread study of working conditions in the Ivory Coast cocoa trade in the 2001 harvest season and a cooperative effort to remedy any abuses found.

A 1999 ELCA social statement on economic life, Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood For All, urges church members to support "government enforcement of regulations against discrimination, exploitative work conditions and labor practices (including child labor)." In the face of economic injustice, "as a church we cannot remain silent because of who and whose we are," the statement says.




Posted at 6:09 am (U.S. Eastern) 9/5/2007

Child labor is a consequence of
poverty as hunger, homeless and others so is not as easy as we think. Even NGO’s
and prominent individuals can not help eradication this issue until and unless
they influence appropriate Governments to reevaluate the economic policies and
rural economic growth. Till now rural economy is only known as agricultural economy
and never emphasized on add-on value products.  Governments have to consider growing and
generating rural employment. Target set for 2015 to eradicate poverty may not
be achieved until we understand roots and real causes of poverty.


90% of child laborers are rural children
who migrate to cities and end up begging, prostitution, domestic helpers, or
other odd jobs. It is easy to say “give them education and not work”, but the
question is who will give? How many will benefit? Individuals and organizations
have been helping these children for several decades. Have they achieved any result?
Each day numbers and methods of child labor is growing.


In books or written records the
number of child labor may have reduced but physically, it is different, and areas
of child labors have added like begging, domestic help, prostitution,
pickpockets, street entertainment, which was never there 2-3 decades back.

I herewith enclosed the video
clips and my sites to know more about relationship between poverty and child
labor issue.






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Embracing diversity