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Children at the heart - Assessment of Child Labour and Child Slavery in Ghana's Cocoa Sector and Recommendations to Mondelēz International

Author: Aarti Kapoor, Managing Director/ Lead Consultant, Embode, Published on: 23 May 2016

This report presents an assessment of child labour and child slavery in the cocoa sectors of Ghana as commissioned by Mondelēz International...Despite efforts over the last decade, child labour is largely prevalent in Ghana, across many sectors in both urban and rural contexts. There is an estimated 880,000 children engaged in hazardous work in cocoa production in Ghana, according to Tulane University's 2013/14 survey. Of Ghana's total child population in cocoa-growing areas (2,236,124), a total of 957,398 (42.8%) were estimated to be working in cocoa production, 918,543 (41.1%) were child labourers working in cocoa production and 878,595 (39.3%) were estimated to be engaged in hazardous work in cocoa production. Although Ghnana has seen an overall decrease of 6.4% and 8.8% in child labour and child labour in hazardous work respectively between 2008/9 and 2013/14, the numbers of children estimated to be engaged in child labour activities is still alarmingly significant...Ghana has a strong legal framework for child protection with comprensive national laws protecting children from child labour and exploitation...A complex array of causes and conditions, enablers and push factors results in children being exploited in cocoa farms...These include persistent cultural practices, gender inequalities, child vulnerabilities and youth labour migration patterns. Deep underlying factors include, among others, economic and strutural poverty, a lack of access to basic services such as education, health, sanitation and justice...A sustainable child-centred approach to child labour and child slavery calls for the integration of the viewpoint of the child and his or her family and community. For a child, she or he needs needs protection from all forms of exploitation and abuse. Focusing on one type of harm may push childen into other more hidden form exploitation. Without systematically responding to the root vulnerabilities and enablers of child lbour, efforts run the risk of simply plastering over the issue in ways wich externalise it to another sector or geographical area. in order to put children at the heart of efforts against child labour in cocoa, the focus must be on the holistic well-being of the child...This also requires all stakeholders to strengthen and build upon existing national support systems and mechanims, in partnership with the Ghanaian government. These include strengthening of basic support services such as education, health, justice, as well as water and sanitation.             


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