Did you know that delicious chocolate might involve child labor? Residents of Los Angeles and other nearby areas of California may want to learn more about the use of child labor in the cocoa farms that begin the process of chocolate. The largest companies in the world may be sourcing their chocolate from Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where much of the prominent child labor cases show documentation.
According to FoodIsPower, the Ivory Coast has chocolate as its primary source of export. The pay of $1 per day is not enough of a living wage for adult workers. It appears that approximately 2.1 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana work on cocoa farms.
Most workers are between the ages of 12 and 16
There are even children working in the fields as young as 5 years old. In the United States, employment law would prohibit such practices, but these laws are missing in parts of West Africa.
Slavery also exists
Many of the children working the cocoa farms do not get paid at all. They endure coercing to work on these cocoa farms. In Ghana, 23% of those surveyed worked without getting paid.
It happens in Brazil
It was not until recently that Brazilian offenses in chocolate farms came to light. Facing poverty, farmers in Pará and Bahia get paid very low prices in order to compete. They have their children working on the farm, and the children may have to carry baskets of the cocoa fruit, which can weigh up to 44 pounds, on their backs.
Although the largest manufacturers of chocolate are aware of the abuses, these issues still exist. Cocoa farms are using child labor and slavery to compete in the market while keeping their costs low. People in the U.S. might want to know the origins of their favorite chocolate so that they can shop with awareness.