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U.S. company Mondelez International, which owns chocolatier Cadbury, has been accused of profiting from child labor.
After a release of videos, which showed children working in Ghana, with workers as young as ten years old cutting down cocoa pods with machetes, Mondelez International, owner of the popular British confectionery maker Cadbury, was accused of exploiting child labor.
The video appeared during the filming of the 'Dispatches' documentary for Channel 4 in the UK, showing footage of two children on a farm, allegedly belonging to Mondelez, working in the plantations with sharp knives to open cocoa pods, and swinging sticks with blades to harvest the pods from trees. According to the images, none of the children had the appropriate protective equipment.
Alleging she was told of going to her uncle's farm from helping with child care, a girl said she was tricked into working at the plantation. She said that she was forced to work long hours without permission to go to school.
It is estimated that farmers in Ghana earn less than 2.62 dollars a day, explaining why they cannot afford to hire adults workers. The founder of Slave Free Chocolate, Ayn Riggs, said that "it's horrifying to see these children using these long machetes, which are sometimes half their height. Chocolate companies promised to clean this up over 20 years ago. They knew they were profiting from child labor and have shirked their promises."
Cocoa Life, which aimed to raise the standard of living for cocoa farmers and stamp out child labor, was set up by Cadbury in 2012. It’s estimated that 1.56 million children are [still] involved in hazardous cocoa production in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. https://t.co/GGIFZm0yzT
Mondelez, which operates a program named Cocoa Life, said that "no amount of child labor in the cocoa supply chain should be acceptable," urging for the investigation of the matter, as it was very concerned by the reports of child labor at one of their plantations.
"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," said a Mondelez International spokesperson.