Much of the World’s Chocolate Supply Relies on Over 1 Million Child Workers

Labor News

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Peter Whoriskey on October 19, 2020.

The world’s chocolate companies depend on cocoa produced with the aid of more than 1 million West African child laborers, according to a new report sponsored by the Labor Department.

The findings represent a remarkable failure by leading chocolate companies to fulfill a long-standing promise to eradicate the practice from their supply chains.

Under pressure from Congress in 2001, some of the world’s largest chocolatiers — including Nestlé, Hershey and Mars — pledged to eradicate “the worst forms of child labor” from their sources in West Africa, the world’s most important supply. Since then, however, the firms have missed deadlines to eliminate child labor in 2005, 2008 and 2010.

Each time, they have promised to do better, but the new report indicates that the incidence of child labor in West African cocoa production has risen. …

Washington Post 10/19

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at