Human Rights

The World Cocoa Foundation and our members are committed to fighting child labor in the cocoa supply chain, a shared responsibility of industry, governments, civil society, and communities.

Children Belong in Classrooms, Not in the Field

According to the International Labor Organization, child labor is widespread in African agriculture, which is largely based on family farms. An estimated 2.1 million children work on family cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the two main producers of cocoa. The vast majority of children (over 99 percent) working on cocoa farms in West Africa do so within their immediate or extended family structure. These smallholder households often struggle with poverty and have few labor alternatives other than their children. Limited access to schools, cultural practices, lack of awareness and gender inequalities also drive child labor.

WCF’s work helps achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, by taking effective measures to eradicate child labor, including through child labor monitoring and remediation systems.

International Cocoa Initiative

Under the 2001 Harkin-Engel Protocol, and the 2010 Framework of Action, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, in partnership with the United States Department of Labor and chocolate and cocoa companies, committed to reducing the worst forms of child labor in cocoa-growing areas. The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), established under the Protocol, works with the industry, governments, NGOs and other partners to improve the lives of children in cocoa-growing communities and eliminate child labor. ICI serves as a technical partner to WCF and the chocolate and cocoa industry.

CocoaAction, an industry-led effort to share information, best practices, and the same core interventions across the cocoa supply chains in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, also includes specific activities aimed at fighting child labor.

  • Featured Experts Tim McCoy

    Vice President for Country Relations
    World Cocoa Foundation
  • Featured Experts Youssouf N’djoré

    Director of Social Development
    World Cocoa Foundation

Download Materials

  • U.S. Department of Labor 2017 Child Labor Coordinating Group Annual Report
  • U.S. Department of Labor 2016 Child Labor Coordinating Group Annual Report
  • Photo by Lucy O'Bryan Absolute Options LLC

All stakeholders now understand that holistic, child-centered community development, women’s empowerment and improved access to education are all key elements in ending child labor.

Tim McCoy Tim McCoy Vice President for Country Relations, World Cocoa Foundation Learn more