Child Labor in the Production of Cocoa

You shouldn’t have to worry that the chocolate you eat might contain cocoa cultivated or harvested by a child. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, together, produce nearly 60% of the world’s cocoa each year, but latest estimates found 2 million children engaged in hazardous work on cocoa farms in these two countries. ILAB’s work has been essential to confronting the challenge of child labor in West African cocoa. By fostering partnerships and securing commitments, we are helping to promote a global cocoa supply chain free of exploitative labor.

A Model For Engagement

ILAB has been, and continues to be, a driving force in bringing people together to coordinate efforts, share ideas, and foster new collaborations to alleviate child labor in cocoa. 

We were instrumental in the formation of the Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group (CLCCG) – an innovative public-private partnership with the aim of rooting out abusive labor practices in the cocoa supply chain. The CLCCG brings together the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana as well as representatives of the International Chocolate and Cocoa Industry to ensure that projects are complementary and sufficient resources are directed towards addressing priority needs.  

Since its establishment in 2010, the CLCCG has brought more stakeholders to the table – helping to spark dialogue and collaboration between governments, chocolate companies, civil society, and international organizations. The partnerships that have stemmed from the CLCCG have been seen as a model of coordination, collaboration, and information-sharing by governments and companies at home and abroad.

High-Level Commitment

The CLCCG was formed when the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the U.S. Department of Labor, and representatives of the international chocolate and cocoa industry committed to joining together in the fight against child labor in the production of cocoa. Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Eliot Engel, and the International Labor Organization witnessed the CLCCG partners’ signing of the Declaration of Joint Action to Support Implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol. Accompanying the Declaration is the Framework of Action to Support Implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, which lays out the activities needed to achieve the goals of the Harkin-Engel Protocol.

The CLCCG has proven essential in accelerating action, sharing knowledge, driving innovation, and leveraging resources in the fight against child labor in West African cocoa. As we look towards the future, we call on all stakeholders in the fight against child labor to learn from these efforts in cocoa. Through partnerships and alliances among all types of stakeholders – from foreign governments to civil society to corporations – we have a chance to make a real and sustained impact in addressing child labor around the world.

Infographic on the dangers of child labor in cocoa


Further Resources