The West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire alone grows 40% of the global supply of cocoa, with Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria being the other major producers in the region and making 70% of the world's cocoa. Cocoa farmers typically live in poverty, and, as a result, instances of forced labor, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labor are found too often on cocoa farms in West Africa. Children are frequently involved in weeding, plucking cocoa pods, gathering and heaping cocoa pods, and other cocoa growing activities. 15 percent of children surveyed reported forced or involuntary work in the past twelve months. In addition, nearly 50 percent of children working in cocoa farming in Cote d’Ivoire and over 50 percent in Ghana reported injuries from their work in the past year.
REcently, the U.S. Department of Labor List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/programs/ocft/tvpra.htm">http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/programs/ocft/tvpra.htm) found that cocoa from five West African nations was tainted by forced and/or abusive child labor.
Fair Trade chocolate, however, fights child labor and the extreme poverty and exploitation of cocoa workers by lifting farmers out of poverty, paying them a fair wage, and protecting children from harmful working conditions on cocoa farms.
Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, and Emeril Lagasse are four of the most prominent celebrity chefs in America. We're asking these chefs to make recipes using Fair Trade certified chocolate. It would be a tiny effort for them, but a huge impact on the fight against child slavery in the cocoa industry.