Child Labor on West African Cocoa Farms

By Jane Uebelhoer.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An examination the moral complexities of stopping child labor, and child slave labor on West African cocoa farms. The world is becoming aware that much of the chocolate we enjoy originates on small farms in West Africa worked in large part by children, some of whom are slaves. Most of the knee-jerk responses people give after hearing about this appalling state of affairs are flawed. They do not take into account enough of the moral, political and economic complexities of the situation. Several of the proposed remedies will certainly cause more human suffering than they will cure; some interventions will shift misery from one group to others. In such a situation, what is your duty? What is mine? What institutions are best positioned to institute reform?

The paper will present an up-to-date overview of labor practices on cocoa farm in West Africa, and a history of international responses to the problem. It will consider the realities of child labor in developing countries, and the obligations of multinational corporations for labor conditions in their supply chains when those chains include 600,000 small farms in very remote regions. Inevitably the discussion brings up questions of how to insure that farmers are paid fairly for their crops, so they can hire and fairly pay adult workers.

Keywords: Child Labor, Cocoa Farming, Harkins-Engle Cocoa Protocol, Fair Trade, Economic Justice

Global Studies Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.149-158. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 499.919KB).

Dr. Jane Uebelhoer

Associate Professor of Business Ethics, School of Business, Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Teacher and researcher in the field of business ethics. PhD in Philosophy. Ten years experience working in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill. Experience teaching in several universities in the US and abroad.


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