Industrialization and Child Labor: The Case of Cocoa in West Africa Essay

Industrialization and Child Labor: The Case of Cocoa in West Africa Essay

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Industrialization and Child Labor: The Case of Cocoa in West Africa
Every year in November, thousands of American children expect to collect many candies during Halloween, but something the might not know is that almost all of the chocolate they receive has been harvested by children just like them. The cocoa production has been exposed as one of the agricultural products that make a great use of child labor. At the heart of the problem are the companies that use cocoa in their products, the producers of the beans, the consumers and non-profit organizations, all acting on their best interests. Because cocoa is produced in developing countries but is used in industrialized nations, all of the actors mentioned above interact in the international market. Therefore, the involvement of children in the harvest of cocoa, the international trade and the growing inclination for Fair Trade, present aspects that can be analyzed trough components of International Political Economy.
The consequences of child employment are negative not only for children themselves, they also have an impact on the long term economy, thus different international protections have taken place to safeguard the working young population. Child labor’s definition has changed over time, but it was not until 1919, the same year that the International Labour Organization was founded, that the first convention regarding child labor took place. (ILO) Most recently, other conventions have been agreed to set 15 years as the minimum age for a minor to work. In addition, Article 32 of the Convention of the Rights of a Child institutes protection against economic exploitation and establishes that children should not participate in “any work that is likely to be hazardous or...

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...(n.d.). Growing Cocoa. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from
Kenzie, D., & Swails, B. (2013, January 19). Child slavery and chocolate: All too easy to find. The CNN Freedom Project Ending ModernDay Slavery RSS. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from
Linton, A. (2012). Fair trade from the ground up: new markets for social justice. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Mapp, S. C. (2011). Global child welfare and well-being. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Percival, M., & Jones contributed to this article.. (2014, February 14). Cocoa-nomics: Why chocolate really doesn't grow on trees. CNN. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from

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