Child Slavery in Africa
With a Focus in the Chocolate Industry
Child Labor- What is it?
According to the new ILO (International Labour Organization) convention, child labor is described as: 1. all forms of slavery and similar practices, 2. use, procuring, or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography, or for pornographic performances, 3. use, procuring, or offering of a child for illicit activities, 4. work which, by its nature is likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children (Child). In Africa, child labor is prominent in several places such as on cocoa bean farms and in the mines. West African cocoa farms alone account for the production of 70% of the world's cocoa beans, and according to the charity Save the Children Canada, 312,000 children are being used as a source of labor (Child).
Causes of Child Labor
The causes leading to the use of child labor mostly revolve around money. Because poverty reigns in this part of the world, many children have to help support a family, and therefore work at a young age, or sometimes even are sold into slavery by their relatives (Food). As demand for a product increases, some producers result to child labor in order to progress in business.
Effects of Child Labor
Child labor has many adverse effects on the children involved. They are deprived of an opportunity to receive an education, they may be exposed to harmful situations such as sharp knives or chemicals, and many times they are treated badly and have poor living conditions (Food). Being at such a young age, as the children grow up, they are marred with scars, disabilities, and no sense of a childhood.
Solutions to End Child Slavery
Because child slavery is put into effect mainly based on either a child's family needing money or a company needing cheap labor, there are a few ways to go about solving this issue. The first would be to help out families that are deep in poverty so that young children would not have to work. Pertaining to the chocolate industry, a way to eliminate the use of child labor would be to have better farming machinery and techniques that would maximize the product outcome, and reduce the amount of labor needed. Both of those solutions offer an overall win for everybody, which is not always achievable. To end child slavery under any circumstance, force can be enacted to make sure farms do not use child labor and is a more violent solution.
Child labor is a major issue in Africa, and though it may not seem like it has any effect on people in the US, it actually does. With every manufactured product you buy, it is a possibility that child labor was used in the manufacturing or production of it. To think that young, poorly treated kids worked to make a product for you to freely use is kind of disconcerting. To have kids deprived of education and childhood is morally wrong. Child slavery is not something to push out of your mind, but something that needs to be stopped.
"Slavery in the Chocolate Industry." Food Empowerment Project. 2014 Web. 10March2014.
Wiener, Gary. Child Labor. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Print.