Keep Child Labor Out Of Chocolate

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Sponsor: The Hunger Site

Tell chocolate makers Hershey's, Mars, and Nestlé to cut off cocoa suppliers who force children to work!


The chocolate industry has a dark side. Deeper down the supply chains that grow and process cocoa for companies like Hershey's, Mars, and Nestlé are groups that force young children and slaves to do the work1.

Seven of the world's largest cocoa companies have been accused of using child labor to increase their profits on cheap cocoa2.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a majority of the 1.56 million child laborers in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana produce nearly 60% of the world's cocoa each year1. These children must swing machetes, carry heavy loads and spray pesticides. There are also children trafficked from nearby countries that work in even more dangerous situations.

A lawsuit was filed in 2021 by eight Malian citizens who said they were trafficked as children to Cote D'Ivoire to work on cocoa plantations. Legal documents describe the workers being constantly bitten by insects, wounded from machete accidents, and some working for years without being paid3.

In East Africa more than 43% of all children between the ages of 5 and 17 living in agricultural households work to grow, harvest and process cocoa4.

In 2001, Hershey, Mars, Nestlé USA and five other chocolate companies told Congress that they would work to remove child labor from their supply chains by 2005. As of 2020, no substantial changes have been made, and children are still being forced to toil while these corporations profit5.

Confronting this issue requires bringing cocoa farmers out of poverty. Chocolate makers must pay those who grow cocoa more. The Dutch chocolate company Tony's Chocolonely, pays about 40% more than the average premium in an attempt to provide its suppliers with a living wage6.

Higher cocoa price would add pennies to the cost of a typical chocolate bar7. Brands like Hersey's, Mars, and Nestlé make billions of dollars every year. These highly profitable companies do not need child slavery to make their chocolate, and Tony's Chocolonely has set an example that other chocolate makers should follow.

Take a stand against child labor and slavery! Sign the petition and ask these companies to pay their suppliers more, end their use of child labor and produce chocolate ethically!

More on this issue:

  1. Bureau of International Labor Affairs, "Child Labor in the Production of Cocoa."
  2. Holly Bancroft, Independent (1 November 2021), "Nestle, Mars and Hersey accused of 'using child labour to get cheap cocoa' in new court papers."
  3. Counter Human Trafficking Trust - East Africa (6 December 2021), "Nestle, Mars and Hershey sued over forced child labour/Child Slavery."
  4. Jillian S. Ambroz, DCReport (23 February 2021), "Lawsuit Cites Global Candy Companies; Seeks Freedom, Compensation for Children Forced into Dangerous Work on Cocoa Farms."
  5. Peter Whoriskey, Rachel Siegel, Washington Post (5 June 2019), "Cocoa's child laborers."
  6. Katherine Martinko, (10 July 2019), "Child Labor Is Still a Huge Problem in Cocoa Industry."
  7. Caribbean Outdoor Activities, (15 February 2016), "The income of a cocoa farmer, per chocolate bar."
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The Petition:

To the CEOs of Hershey's, Mars, and Nestlé,

Back in 2001, your companies told Congress that you would work to remove child labor from their supply chains by 2005.

Since then, little has changed. Because their families are in such deep poverty, children are still forced to work on cocoa plantations that supply your chocolate factories. They are forced to trade their childhood years for pain and hardship.

In East Africa more than 43% of all children between the ages of 5 and 17 living in agricultural households work to grow, harvest and process cocoa.

A majority of the 1.56 million child laborers in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana produce nearly 60% of the world's cocoa each year. These children must swing machetes, carry heavy loads and spray pesticides. Children trafficked in from nearby countries that work in even more dangerous situations.

Especially in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana where cocoa is farmed, children are subjected to the worst forms of child labor. This is no life for a child!

When looking at the income of a cocoa farmer, it's clear that higher cocoa price would only add pennies to the cost of a typical chocolate bar. Given the popularity of chocolate around the world, you have the power to change history, and create a more future world for all.

I implore you to end business relationships with suppliers who use child or slave labor to produce cocoa, and pay a living wage to those who do not.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: