The Cocoa Child Labor Problem

Child labor is now arising in the cocoa farms of West Africa

Cocoa Child Labor

Charlotte K.

Child labour is work where a child can be hurt and/or is kept out of school. This is a growing problem in the cocoa farms of West Africa. Farm owners don’t have much money. They need to keep their prices competitive, so, they turn to child labour. With these workers, children, they don’t have to pay labour costs, or barely need to pay at all. Cocoa communities are surrounded by intense poverty, children are trafficked, abducted, or sold by relatives to these farms where they endure harsh treatment. Once children go to these farms they may not see their families for years, if ever.

The Treatment of Laborers

The treatment of children on cocoa farms is appalling at best. Children are whipped and beaten for working to slow. Farm owners do not care if the children are injured. They send the children out into the forest with machetes and in some cases chainsaws to cut down cocoa pods. The laborers sleep in windowless wooden shacks with no running water or proper bathrooms. These methods are used so that the children can not escape.

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Where is this happening?

This is a map of Africa with Cote D'Ivoire circled. D'Ivoire produces more then seventy percent of the worlds cocoa so naturally, this is where the cocoa child labor takes place. While child labor happens in other small countries, D'Ivoire is a big home of the problem.

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The Effects on West Africa

The effects of child labour are huge in Africa. Children grow up without education, they lose their childhood to cruel farms. In a never ending cycle of poverty, children are sucked in and become workers to either family farms or huge plantations. Children never get the chance to learn which, in turn deprives the children and their future families from economical advancement. With this happening all over West Africa, countries never have the chance to develop and thrive. The effects stunt West Africa’s growth and limit its potential.

Cocoa Children Working

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There are laws against child labour and trafficking that work to protect the victims and end child labour. Many different organizations help by raising money and awareness about it. The money goes to cocoa communities in the hope that it will break the poverty cycle. School houses and kits are funded and built in small cocoa towns; so children can get their education. The Alien Tort Claims Act is being brought back to light, a dusty old legislation that can be used to represent child laborers. Private companies and organizations work to find ways to track and stop labour in the hope it will soon be ended.

Cocoa Child Laborers

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What can you do?

Regular people can make all the difference for cocoa child laborers. Organizing fundraisers to raise awareness and money is a great way to do so. Even trying to stop eating chocolate, or beginning to avoid child labor cocoa sourced companies helps. You can donate to certain organizations for school kits or supplies for child laborers. Supporting such organizations in public awareness raising activities such as World Day against child labour can also help. Anything and everything makes a difference, either to raise money, awareness, or supplies, it lets a child somewhere in West Africa reclaim their childhood.


As said before, donating is a great way to get involved! Click on this button to donate today.

Work Cited

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