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Title Four Corners: Chocolate
Published Australia : ABC, 2010
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Description 1 online resource (streaming video file) (44 min. 53 sec.) ; 271077178 bytes
Summary An investigation that exposes the way children are used to produce the raw materials that drive a multi-billion dollar industry.Cocoa beans are the basic ingredients of chocolate. They are one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world. In Europe, major chocolate makers have signed up to Fairtrade programs, claiming some of their products are made without abusive labour practices. Now the BBC's Paul Kenyon, posing as a cocoa bean buyer, puts those claims to the test, revealing the Fairtrade seal of approval on chocolate is not all always what it appears to be.His name is Fatao. He is just 12 years old and each day he works with a machete harvesting cocoa beans on a farm in Ghana. The hours are long, the work is dirty and exhausting and he is paid no money. But the beans he harvests underpin a massive industry that nets companies, in the developed world, millions and millions of dollars.His situation is not unique. Across parts of Africa thousands of children, some less than ten years of age, are forced to work for little or no pay to harvest cocoa beans. Some are trafficked and moved from country to country to work illegally. Their treatment breaks international labour laws and yet in many cases very little is done to stop this modern day slavery.Major chocolate makers acknowledge there are problems involving the use of children. In the United States, after a major political campaign, companies including Mars and Nestle agreed to sign up to a six point plan to protect children in the chocolate industry. Nine years on though there is still no logo on U.S. chocolate stating which brands are free of child labour.For some activists, including Terry Collingsworth from International Rights Advocates, this is a completely unacceptable situation:"Well I think anyone involved in it would have to admit that it's been a complete failure, and what it has done is given these cocoa companies several years of cover."In the United Kingdom 10 chocolate bars from different companies now have a Fairtrade logo. For chocolate lovers that logo is supposed to guarantee children have not been employed illegally in the making of the chocolate.But does the Fairtrade label applied to those chocolates in Britain really guarantee that? To test that question BBC reporter Paul Kenyon went undercover trying to trace the beans that went into Fairtrade products. What he found will shock many chocolate lovers. In a number of locations he found the cocoa bean suppliers approved by the Fairtrade initiative did in fact use child labour. Some were exposed by a Fairtrade audit, others were exposed by the BBC investigation.Harriet Lamb from the Fairtrade Foundation made it clear she was shocked by the revelations:"We're extremely concerned about your findings and obviously the first priority must be to make sure always that the children concerned are taken care of, and that their safety and their future is looked after. And we have then launched an investigation on the ground together with the farmers to understand why this problem occurred, where it occurred, and to see what we can do to prevent it happening in the future."Not content to simply point out the shortcomings in the system reporter Paul Kenyon then confronts the child trafficker of "cocoa slaves", who took 12 year old Fatao from his home in Burkina Faso to work in Ghana. He calls on the local police and forces the man into handing over the young boy and then manages to re-unite him with his mother.It is perhaps a small piece of good news, but it does not hide the fact that right now bags of cocoa beans produced by children are being mixed with "legal" produce. According to the people buying and selling cocoa there are very few checks and balances and very little foolproof labelling to show how a product has been produced. That means the chocolate bar you eat today might be satisfying - but is it costing a small child their freedom and their future?
Notes Closed captioning in English
Event Broadcast 2010-05-03 at 20:30:00
Notes Classification: NC
Subject Cocoa processing.
Cocoa trade.
Food adulteration and inspection.
International trade -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Form Streaming video
Author Collingsworth, Terry, contributor
Gentile, Nick, contributor
Kenyon, Paul, reporter
L. Engel, Eliot, contributor
Lamb, Harriet, contributor
McAllister, Peter, contributor
Zabre, Boussim, contributor