Child labour incidents

In 1998, UNICEF reported that Ivory Coast farmers used enslaved children – many from surrounding countries.[80] In late 2000 a BBC documentary reported the use of enslaved children in the production of cocoa—the main ingredient in chocolate[81]— in West Africa.[82][83] Other media followed by reporting widespread child slavery and child trafficking in the production of cocoa.[80][84][85] In 2001, the US State Department estimated there were 15,000 child slaves cocoa, cotton and coffee farms in the Ivory Coast,[86] and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association acknowledged that child slavery is used in the cocoa harvest.[86][not in citation given][better source needed] Malian migrants have long worked on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, but in 2000 cocoa prices had dropped to a 10-year low and some farmers stopped paying their employees.[87] The Malian counsel had to rescue some boys who had not been paid for five years and who were beaten if they tried to run away.[87] Malian officials believed that 15,000 children, some as young as 11 years old, were working in the Ivory Coast in 2001. These children were often from poor families or the slums and were sold to work in other countries.[84] Parents were told the children would find work and send money home, but once the children left home, they often worked in conditions resembling slavery.[82] In other cases, children begging for food were lured from bus stations and sold as slaves.[88] In 2002, the Ivory Coast had 12,000 children with no relatives nearby, which suggested they were trafficked,[82] likely from neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo.[89] The cocoa industry was accused of profiting from child slavery and trafficking.[90] The European Cocoa Association dismissed these accusations as "false and excessive"[90] and the industry said the reports were not representative of all areas.[91] Later the industry acknowledged the working conditions for children were unsatisfactory and children's rights were sometimes violated[92] and acknowledged the claims could not be ignored. In a BBC interview, the ambassador for Ivory Coast to the United Kingdom called these reports of widespread use of slave child labour by 700,000 cocoa farmers as absurd and inaccurate.[91] In 2001, a voluntary agreement called the Harkin-Engel Protocol, was accepted by the international cocoa and chocolate industry to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, as defined by ILO's Convention 182, in West Africa.[93] This agreement created a foundation named International Cocoa Initiative in 2002. The foundation claims it has, as of 2011, active programs in 290 cocoa growing communities in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, reaching a total population of 689,000 people to help eliminate the worst forms of child labour in cocoa industry.[94] Other organisations claim progress has been made, but the protocol's 2005 deadlines have not yet been met.[95][96][97] Mining in Africa In 2008, Bloomberg claimed child labour in copper and cobalt mines that supplied Chinese companies in Congo. The children are creuseurs, that is they dig the ore by hand, carry sacks o ores on their backs, and these are then purchased by these companies. Over 60 of Katanga's 75 processing plants are owned by Chinese companies and 90 percent of the region's minerals go to China.[98] An African NGO report claimed 80,000 child labourers under the age of 15, or about 40% of all miners, were supplying ore to Chinese companies in this African region.[99] BBC, in 2012, accused Glencore of using child labour in its mining and smelting operations of Africa. Glencore denied it used child labour, and said it has strict policy of not using child labour. The company claimed it has a strict policy whereby all copper was mined correctly, placed in bags with numbered seals and then sent to the smelter. Glencore mentioned being aware of child miners who were part of a group of artisanal miners who had without authorisation raided the concession awarded to the company since 2010; Glencore has been pleading with the government to remove the artisanal miners from the concession.[100] Small-scale artisanal mining of gold is another source of dangerous child labour in poor rural areas in certain parts of the world.[101] This form of mining uses labour-intensive and low-tech methods. It is informal sector of the economy. Human Rights Watch group estimates that about 12 percent of global gold production comes from artisanal mines. In west Africa, in countries such as Mali - the third largest exporter of gold in Africa - between 20,000 and 40,000 children work in artisanal mining. Locally known as orpaillage, children as young as 6 years old work with their families. These children and families suffer chronic exposure to toxic chemicals including mercury, and do hazardous work such as digging shafts and working underground, pulling up, carrying and crushing the ore. The poor work practices harm the long term health of children, as well as release hundreds of tons of mercury every year into local rivers, ground water and lakes. Gold is important to the economy of Mali and Ghana. For Mali, it is the second largest earner of its export revenue. For many poor families with children, it is the primary and sometimes the only source of income.[102][103] Meatpacking In early August 2008, Iowa Labour Commissioner David Neil announced that his department had found that Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking company in Postville which had recently been raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had employed 57 minors, some as young as 14, in violation of state law prohibiting anyone under 18 from working in a meatpacking plant. Neil announced that he was turning the case over to the state Attorney General for prosecution, claiming that his department's inquiry had discovered "egregious violations of virtually every aspect of Iowa's child labour laws."[104] Agriprocessors claimed that it was at a loss to understand the allegations. Agriprocessors' CEO went to trial on these charges in state court on 4 May 2010. After a five-week trial he was found not guilty of all 57 charges of child labour violations by the Black Hawk County District Court jury in Waterloo, Iowa, on 7 June 2010.

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