Harkin-Engel Protocol

To combat the child slavery in cocoa production, US Representative Eliot Engel introduced a legislative amendment to fund the development of a "no child slavery" label for chocolate products sold in the United States. Senator Tom Harkin proposed an addition to an agriculture bill to label qualified chocolate and cocoa products as "slave free".[34] It was approved in the House of Representatives by a vote of 291–115,[35] but before it went to the Senate the chocolate makers hired former senators George Mitchell and Bob Dole to lobby against it,[34] and it did not go to a vote.[35] Instead, the chocolate manufactures agreed with the Congressmen to create the Harkin-Engel Protocol[36] to remove child slavery from the industry by July 2005.[34] The voluntary agreement was a commitment by the industry groups to develop and implement voluntary standards to certify cocoa produced without the "worst forms of child labor,"[36] and was signed by the heads of major chocolate companies, Congressmen, the Ambassador of Cote d'Ivoire, and others concerned with child labor.[36] The chocolate makers were to create programs in West Africa to make Africans aware of the consequences of child labor, keeping their children from an education, and child trafficking. The incentive for the companies would be the "slave free" label so consumers would feel guiltless when they had their chocolate.[34] The 2005 deadline was not met,[37][38] and all parties agreed to a three-year extension of the Protocol.[38][39] This extension allowed the cocoa industry more time to implement the Protocol including creating a certification system to address the worst forms of child labor for half of the growing areas in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.[39][40] By 2008, industry had collected data on over half of the areas, as required, but they did not have proper independent verification.[41] In June 2008, the Protocol was extended until the end of 2010. At that time, the industry was required to have full certifications with independent verifications.[39] The European Union passed a resolution in 2012 to fully implement the Harkin-Engel Protocol and fight child labor in cocoa production.[42] The resolution was criticized by the International Labor Rights Forum for having no legally binding measures and two major chocolate manufacturers claimed they were addressing the problem. The Harkin-Engel Protocol,[A] sometimes referred to as the Cocoa Protocol, is an international agreement aimed at ending the worst forms of child labor (according to the International Labor Organization's Convention 182) and forced labor (according to ILO Convention 29) in the production of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. The protocol was negotiated by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel in response to a documentary and multiple articles in 2000 and 2001 reporting widespread child slavery and child trafficking in the production of cocoa. The protocol was signed in September 2001. Joint Statements in 2001, 2005 and 2008 and a Joint Declaration in 2010 extended the commitment to address the problem. As of 2012, it is unclear if the protocol reduced child labor in the production of cocoa, though the cocoa industry claims five of the six articles have been addressed and the final one is being actively pursued.

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