Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
This week, INTERPOL issued a press release stating that they had conducted an operation in Cote d'Ivoire that led to the rescue of 50 child workers on cocoa farms and the arrest of eight adults involved in the illegal recruitment of children. Eight years after the chocolate industry agreed to ensure that their cocoa beans and derivative products "have been grown and/or processed without any of the worst forms of child labor," it is extremely upsetting to see that abuses like these continue in West Africa's cocoa industry.
INTERPOL described the conditions these children experienced as follows:
At the end of June, there was a separate report that Ivorian police officers stopped two trucks filled with 20 children being trafficked in to Cote d'Ivoire from Burkina Faso.
These abuses are unacceptable and chocolate companies must do more to ensure that labor rights are protected in their cocoa supply chains. These recent stories show how important it is for consumers to take action to demand more from chocolate companies and there's an exciting new campaign action you can do that is perfect for the summer. Keep reading for more information.
ILRF is joining many other organizations across the country to saying "We Want More from our S'mores" this summer. We've had enough of abusive child labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry. We want justice and fairness for cocoa farmers and their families. Part of the answer is to ensure that cocoa farmers get a fair price for their cocoa beans, so we are calling on Hershey to start purchasing Fair Trade Certified cocoa for their chocolate. This summer, people across the country are going to make Fair Trade s'mores in addition to collecting petitions to Hershey calling on them to go Fair Trade. You can also download Hershey campaign posters and take pictures of you and your friends with them and upload them to this Flickr group -- all the details are online here.
While we are making fair s'mores, Hershey is also sponsoring their own, separate National S'mores Day on August 10th. As part of the event, Hershey is encouraging people to send in photos of themselves making s'mores as part of a contest. We encourage people concerned about child labor and trafficking to take photos of themselves with our Hershey campaign posters and enter them in Hershey's contest so that we can send the message directly to them. Go here to send your photo directly to Hershey. August 10th is a GREAT time to participate in our s'mores action and let Hershey know that "we want more from our s'mores!"