In the News

Candy makers fire back on forced labor

The Hill
05/16/2015

Candy makers say they won’t stand in the way of an effort in Congress to end a decades-old statute that allows U.S. companies to import goods made with forced labor.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) stormed Capitol Hill this week to correct what they called a mischaracterization of their stance after some lawmakers expressed concern that candy makers were calling to preserve the import exemption. 

The 1932 trade rule allows some products that are made by forced or child labor to enter the United States when demand outstrips the domestic supply.

Artisanal, hand-crafted chocolate is a growing niche

Los Angeles Times
02/28/2015

Ryan Berk makes his chocolate from scratch. That means flying to Central America four times a year, hiking over Maya ruins to remote jungle villages and meeting face-to-face with the farmers who supply his cocoa beans.

Roasted back home at Berk's shop, the beans have a habit of enveloping downtown Redlands with a warm smell like brownies fresh from the oven. It's only then that the chocolate maker with the Indiana Jones streak can mix and shape the ancient treat into bars, carefully wrapping each one by hand.

Thailand considered sourcing your fish dinner with prison labor

Global Post
01/20/2015

BANGKOK, Thailand — Trawling the ocean on a Thai fishing boat is one of Asia’s foulest jobs.

It can involve 20-hour work days on a reeking boat, bobbing on lawless seas, under captains who lord over crews like slave drivers. The job attracts so few takers that fishing syndicates infamously rely on forced labor: duping migrants onto ships and forcing them to toil for no pay.

It’s little wonder that Thailand’s fishing industry — a top supplier to the US — struggles to attract workers under such grim conditions.

Bold Thai plan to send prisoners to sea sinks amid rights protests

Reuters
01/20/2015

A radical plan by the Thai government to put prisoners to work on the country's under-staffed fishing boats has been scrapped, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, following charges the scheme threatened inmates' rights.

Rights groups had also argued the idea would fail to address the fundamental causes of the labor shortage that fuels human trafficking in Thailand's fishing industry.

Is Your Favorite Chocolate the Product of Child Labor?

The Nation
12/22/2014

A good chunk of that deliciousness on our holiday dessert trays is sourced from lush farmlands of West Africa, where cocoa beans are tenderly grown and processed to meet the scrutiny of international quality controls. The end product is a painstakingly nurtured commodity valued like no other in the world. The same cannot be said of the children working the land.

ILRF: Poverty, Child Labor Persist On Cocoa Farms

Politico
12/18/2014

Despite substantial efforts by their governments, child labor and poverty persist in the cocoa farms of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, says the International Labor Rights Forum in a 64-page paper released yesterday. Over the course of two years of research, ILRF says it found many farm families living “on real incomes of about 40 cents per dependent per day.” They borrow money to “purchase inputs for their crop or to pre-sell their cocoa in order to finance the harvest and transport their cocoa, thus forcing many into cyclical patterns of indebtedness,” says IRLF.

Child labor still prevalent on W. African cocoa farms -ILRF

Reuters
12/17/2014

As many as 1.5 million children are working on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top two producers, despite more than 10 years of efforts to reduce child labor, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) said in a report.

The report, released on Wednesday, highlights how far the cocoa and chocolate industry still has to go to meet global standards as consumers increasingly demand that the production of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, not include child labor.

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