The big issue: children and chocolate
26th Mar 2010
The run up to Easter, when the British prepare to chomp their way through 80m Easter eggs, is the traditional time of year for guilt fuelled exposés of the continuing problem of child labour in the cocoa industry.
A recently aired Panorama documentary sees a renewed media focus on the issue in the UK, one of many since harrowing stories of West African child slaves first came to global public attention ten years ago.
That original media and public outcry paved the way for the Harkin-Engel Protocol, a voluntary code of self-regulation that has defined chocolate industry efforts to tackle the worse forms of child labour in the supply chain over the past nine years.
Children and chocolate have long been associated; it is because chocolate is such a potent symbol of the innocent joys of childhood that revelations about children being trafficked or forced to undertake hazardous and excessive work on cocoa farms are so incendiary.