Child slavery and trafficking
In 1998, UNICEF reported that Ivorian farmers used enslaved children—many from surrounding countries. A 2000 BBC documentary described child slavery on commercial cocoa farms in Cote d'Ivoire. In 2001, the US State Department estimated there were 15,000 child slaves in cocoa, cotton, and coffee farms in Cote d'Ivoire, and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association acknowledged that child slavery is used in the cocoa harvest. Malian migrants have long worked on cocoa farms in Cote d'Ivoire, but in 2000 cocoa prices had dropped to a 10-year low and some farmers stopped paying their employees. 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. Malian officials believed that 15,000 children, some as young as 11 years old, were working in Cote d'Ivoire in 2001. These children were often from poor families or the slums and were sold for "just a few dollars" to work in other countries. 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. In other cases, children begging for food were lured from bus stations and sold as slaves. In 2002, Cote d'Ivoire had 12,000 children with no relatives nearby, which suggested they were trafficked, likely from neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo. According to a 2009 snowball sampling study, the majority of those with childhood cocoa labor experience were trafficked (75% from Burkina Faso and 63% rom Mali). The majority of those who were trafficked had no interaction with police, and 0.5 percent had any contact from institutions that provided social services. Western African nations of Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mali are the 2009 US State Department's Tier 2 Watch List for human trafficking in part due to the trafficking of children in cocoa production. Burkina Faso and Togo are rated at Tier 2 in part due to trafficking for cocoa production. The blame for the slavery in cocoa production has been passed from one group to the next. Those who sell the children to the farmers claimed they did not see the slavery. The Ivorian government accused foreigners of using and selling slaves and blamed multinational chocolate companies for keeping cocoa prices low and farmers in poverty; it claimed the low prices forced some farmers to use slave labor. The Ivorian prime minister, Pascal Affi N'Guessan, said the price would need to increase 10 times to ensure a good quality of life for the farmers and their families. Farmers who bought slaves blamed the worldwide cost of cocoa. Cocoa suppliers claimed they cannot manage what happens on the farms. Chocolate companies stated that the suppliers needed to provide cocoa that was not produced by slaves. Consumers did not know that their chocolate was produced using slave labor. In 2001, due to pressure applied by the US Congress and potential US and UK boycotts, the chocolate manufacturers promised to start eliminating forced child labor.