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Brazil: Survey by Intl. Labour Org. & Labour Prosecution Office reveals 8,000 children and teenagers working in the cocoa supply chain, but some companies have good practices


At least 8,000 Brazilian children and teenagers work in the chocolate production chain according to the report requested by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and by Brazil’s Labour Prosecution's Office, between 2017 and 2018. Brasil de Fato interviewed Marques Casara, one of the researchers who conducted the survey, who affirmed how important it is to hold industries and chocolate production chain accountable for violations in their production. There is also a documentary available.

This story is also available in Portuguese, click here.

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17 December 2018

Brazil: Documentary on child labor in the cocoa chain

"Cadeia Produtiva do Cacau", dezembro de 2018

[Please note the documentary is only available in Portuguese. Our translation of the introductory text: Between July 2017 and June 2018, Papel Social researchers visited the main Brazilian cocoa producing regions. The project took place through a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and and by Brazil’s Labour Prosecution's Office. The survey indicated a significant presence of child labour and slave labour]

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17 December 2018

Brazil: Prosecutor alleges that in cocoa farms the relationship between family farmers who work in “partnership” with landowners can be abusive & sometimes considered modern slavery

Author: Fabio Teixeira, Thomson Reuters Foundation

"Global chocolate supply chain tainted by abuses in Brazil: report", 30 November, 2018

...The global chocolate supply chain is tainted by the use of cocoa from Brazilian farms where human rights violations are common, a report released…[as]...the result of a joint effort between the Brazilian Federal Labor Prosecution Office and the International Labor Organization...Brazil was the world’s seventh-largest cocoa producer in 2017...“We want companies to take responsibility for their supply chains”, said Margaret Matos de Carvalho, a public prosecutor from the Federal Labor Prosecution Office and coordinator of the report. On cocoa farms in Pará and Bahia family farmers work in “partnership” with landowners, sharing the profits…[H]owever...this relationship can be abusive and, in some cases, be classified as modern slavery. In Brazil, the definition of modern slavery includes debt bondage, degrading work conditions, long hours that pose a risk to a worker’s health or life, as well as work that violates a person’s dignity. “Most (family farmers) have no place to live, they camp at the rural property. They don’t have proper working tools, and no technical assistance on how to apply (dangerous) pesticides,” said de Carvalho. Public prosecutors refer to this practice as a “false partnership” in which “workers have no autonomy to choose what to plant, which techniques to use or for whom to sell,” said the report. Child labor on cocoa farms is a recurring practice, the report said, and is considered normal in the communities where it is practiced, even though it is illegal in Brazil. The Federal Labor Prosecution Office...plans to meet with representatives of companies that use Brazilian cocoa and use the report to pressure them to demand better accountability from their suppliers. “We feel they should pay some sort of compensation to municipalities” where the violations happened, de Carvalho said. The Brazilian Association of Chocolate, Peanut and Candy Industries, which represents 92 percent of vendors and chocolate makers in the country, said...the report “will help us better understand the supply chain and map out actions that eventually may need to be taken to solve any existing problems.” The National Association of Cocoa Processing Industries...was unable to be reached for comment...

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NGO rejoinder
+ Português - Hide

Author: Organização Internacional do Trabalho (OIT), Ministério Público do Trabalho (MPT) e Papel Social (Brazil)

"Cadeia produtiva do cacau: avanços e desafios rumo à promoção do trabalho decente: análise situacional", Novembro de 2018

...Considerações Finais A cadeia produtiva do cacau é uma riqueza que deve ser bem explorada. É necessário promover e garantir condições de trabalho decente, livrando o processo produtivo de desrespeito aos princípios e direitos fundamentais do trabalho, tão caros à economia na medida em que posicionam empresas a concorrer em condições leais. No entanto, a atual configuração e a dinâmica da cadeia acaba por gerar pressões aos produtores que, na prática, funcionam como incentivos à utilização de trabalho infantil ou escravo. Seria importante, portanto, identificar mudanças a serem tomadas por todos os stakeholders da cadeia com o objetivo que estes efeitos sejam eliminados. Nesse sentido e no contexto de legislação recentemente adotada, aponta-se para a necessidade de se desenvolver um plano de ação, de forma participativa com aspartes interessadas, com atribuições de responsabilidades e metas, para uma intervenção na cadeia produtiva do cacau em prol da eliminação do trabalho infantil e escravo…[Há referência à Agrícola Conduru, Empresa de As-sistência Técnica e Extensão Rural (EMATER), Fazenda Panorama, Sítio Dia Lindo]

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5 December 2018

Brazil: Survey by Intl. Labour Org. & Labour Prosecution Office reveals 8,000 children and teenagers under child labour in the cocoa supply chain

Author: Luciana Console, Brasil de Fato, (Brazil)

 “Report on Brazil’s major cocoa-producing areas exposes labor and human rights violations”, 5 December 2018

…[A]t least 8,000 Brazilian children and teenagers currently work in the chocolate production chain, the report commissioned by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Brazil’s Labor Prosecution Office showed. The survey was conducted in 2017 and 2018…[B]rasil de Fato spoke with Marques Casara, one of the researchers who conducted the survey…[H]e reiterated how important it is to hold industries accountable for violations in their production chains…[T]he report came about from a cooperation agreement signed between the International Labor Organization and [Brazil’s] Labor Prosecution Office aiming at a number of initiatives toward decent work in production chains, including the cocoa chain. And one of the steps of this agreement was to produce a research…[O]ur main finding is that child labor is a common practice at the base of the cocoa production chain. It directly benefits major cocoa processors based in Brazil that are connected with multinational corporations, as well as major food companies that market chocolate…[A]nother important aspect in the research was finding [evidence of] fraud in sharecropping arrangements…[W]hat we have found is that this sharecropping process is an excuse to hide practices that violate rights, including slave labor…[T]here is an extensive network of middlemen who commit tax fraud and tax evasion and buy cocoa from farmers and then pass it over to big cocoa processors and big mills…[A]s this survey is out, big processors and chocolate brands have to give a strong answer to solve these unacceptable issues that have been going on in the cocoa and chocolate production chain…

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