January 18th, 2012
07:15 PM ET
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In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields. Premieres Friday January 20, 8 p.m. GMT, 9 CET on CNN International. More information and air times

It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In the Ivory Coast and other cocoa-producing countries, there are an estimated 100,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed around the world.

More than 10 years ago, two U.S. lawmakers took action to put a stop to child labor in the cocoa industry. Despite pushback from the industry, the Harkin-Engel Protocol, also known as the Cocoa Protocol, was signed into law on September 19, 2001.

In an upcoming documentary, "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast – the world’s largest cocoa producer – to investigate what’s happening to children working in the fields, 10 years after the protocol was signed.

The CNN Freedom Project examined in September 2011 what effect this protocol has had over the years and also what some of the major issues are surrounding slave labor and the cocoa industry. Here's some of the background of that coverage on the Freedom Project blog.

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Filed under: Chocolate • Food Politics • Human Rights • News • Slavery

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. rob dupuis

    Why are we as a Western world really suprised?

    January 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  2. chocolate slavery

    Here's more detailed information on chocolate slavery.


    January 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  3. Samuel Getaneh Bogale Calgary Alberta

    This is terrible! Great article worth reading and giving serious consideration to!

    January 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  4. Roberta Nesbit

    Very distressing to see the film reporting on cocoa responding that children were helping parent sharecroppers prepare the cocoa when the fillm was showing the family pictured taking seeds from palm oil bunches. Surely the photographer, or the film editor or whoever saw the film should have recognized that the crop was not cocoa-although one grown in the same areas .It only gives people who want to discount reporting on this very serious issue ammunition to say that the reporters and CNN are 'missing things' and not reporting accurately.

    It also suggests that the people who see the films can be shown anything and will believe it. I have lived in the cocoa/oil palm areas of West Africa and I find it hard that the mistake could be made. Oil palm trees are palm trees, cocoa trees aren't. Cocoa seeds are reddish brown and come covered in a moist film, out of a pod roughly the size of two fists. Oil palm seeds are red, yellow and black and grow in large bunches of many seeds. Each bunch may weigh more than 25+ kilos. The seeds are about the same size, and cocoa pods and oil palm bunches are both cut from the trees to harvest. But no one could mistake one for the other. If this mistake or carelessness means the program is less effective it will be devastating as the abuse of children by subjecting them to this heartless labor needs to be addressed.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  5. Sharp

    I'll bet things are even worse now. The big companies probably have put up a firewall but they know exactly what's going on.

    January 18, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
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