Chocolate company accused of profiting from child labor — Analysis

Mondelez International has been accused by the British confectionary company Cadbury of using child labor in Ghana. This was after video footage showed children as young 10 going through cocoa pods and cutting them with machetes.

The footage emerged in a recent ‘Dispatches’ documentary for Channel 4 in the UK, in which two children on a farm, allegedly belonging to Mondelez, were filmed weeding the plantations, using sharp knives to open cocoa pods, and swinging sticks with blades to harvest the pods from trees. One girl claimed that she once cut her foot with a long knife.

Another girl said she was tricked into working at the plantation, claiming she was under the impression that she would be going to her uncle’s farm to help with childcare but instead was forced to work long hours on the farm and not allowed to go to school. She added that she’s never spoken out about it because she is “too afraid.”

Campaigners fighting against child labor claim that farmers in Ghana get paid less than £2 ($2.62) a day and therefore simply cannot afford to hire adult workers. Slave Free Chocolate’s founder, Ayn Riggles, said to The Guardian. “It’s horrifying to see these children using these long machetes, which are sometimes half their height. This was 20 years before chocolate corporations promised to fix it. They knew they were profiting from child labor and have shirked their promises.”

Mondelez runs Cocoa Life, a program that promotes sustainability. It stated it was concerned about reports that child labor had been used on one of its farms. “no amount of child labor in the cocoa supply chain should be acceptable,”We are going to continue our investigation into the matter.

Mondelez International spokesperson: “We’re deeply concerned by the incidents documented in the Dispatches program. We explicitly prohibit child labor in our operations and have been working relentlessly to take a stand against this, making significant efforts through our Cocoa Life program to improve the protection of children in the communities where we source cocoa.”

The accusations come ahead of the confectionary industry’s busiest time of the year, as over £300 million ($393.6 million) is spent on chocolate Easter eggs and treats every year in the UK, where Cadbury remains one of Britain’s most famous chocolate companies.

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