Perhaps you didn't know that modern slavery still exists..but it really does. As we speak, people are forced to work on cocoa farms in West Africa. Many of them are children.
There are 2.26 million children working on more than 2.5 million cocoa farms in Ghana and Ivory Coast. More than 90% (2.1 million) of these children are victims of child labor (which is illegal). One of the main reasons for the use of child labor is poverty. (Source: Tulane University 2015)
The past years, we've used figures from various sources to identify the extent of modern slavery in the cocoa industry in Ghana and Ivory Coast. This allowed us to estimate the number of children and adults that fall within our definition of modern slavery. The figure we got to is 90,000 children and adults. We think the majority of them are children.
Last year we launched the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System. Uhhh.. beg your pardon? Don’t worry, we’ve shortened it to CLMRS. This system helps us get an overview of the child labor situation and to eradicate it as much as possible. We want to identify instances of child labor as only then can we address the issue and make a real impact.
We want 100% of all farmers and their families that supply cocoa beans to Tony’s (4,318 farmers in the past year) to be in this program.
So how does it work?
To start with, we trained people and collected basic information. The actual collection of data started this summer. Of course, you start by collecting data about family sizes and their living conditions. We do this ourselves in Ghana and Ivory coast and as you can imagine, it is quite a time-consuming process. Tony’s works in difficult areas and the farmers often don’t work where they live. We’re making progress, fortunately.
Right, so what's the score?
We don't have all the data yet, but so far we've found 30 children who work on plantations linked to cooperatives we source beans from. We’ll have more complete data in a few months so we can share more insights.
Quantitative research on modern slavery in West African cocoa industry
We felt that an estimate of 90,000 gave us and many others something to go by. Yet voices in the industry questioned the reliability of our estimate. So, it’s time someone did some reliable quantitative research.
Our research consists of two parts: 1. Research on modern slavery in the Ghanaian and Ivorian cocoa industry. We are working with Tulane University in Louisiana and the Walk Free Foundation on this, with both institutes specifically focusing on modern slavery and child labor. 2. Comparative research on modern slavery in the cooperatives that Tony’s works with using the CLMRS.