In “Child slaves of Chocolate”, by David McKenzie CNN travels to the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate the children working in cocoa fields.
Project Liberty wanted our team to answer a question: Ten years after all the main players in the chocolate industry committed to ending trafficking and child labor in Ivory Coast, which was promise fulfilled?
This is how we are, four journalists and a driver, packed into a silver SUV, driving to Daloa with luxury skyscrapers of Abidjan vanished behind us. The market towns became Bush and traffic thinned as chewing a mile.
We started talking about the shooting. It is an argument to all journalists have on long road trips. And we had plenty of time to kill.
How are we to find what you want? We have done our homework? What if it rains all day? Did you bring mosquito repellent? Have you eaten rats that sell Bush on the side of the road?
We were both a little nervous. Rats not Bush, but to get to the story.
We had done our homework. Everything we read in the government, UN and chocolate companies emphasized one thing: the distance.
Chocolate companies specifically repeat what thousands of remote cocoa plantations are. They say it makes it very difficult to eradicate child labor and trafficking. They say it makes it difficult to find victims of trafficking. It’s just, well, tough.
So we set out on the first day of shooting, not knowing what to expect. Tar roads turned to dirt roads and trails resulted.
In the second farm we visited on our first day of shooting, we found child victims of trafficking. Let’s call what they are slaves. They said they had been brought from Burkina Faso, who could not leave his farm, and were not paid.
We have been in a lot of outbreaks difficult, but finding child slaves on our first day was not difficult.
And the question then we got was: “Why was it so easy?” We have not had the backing of the U.S. Congress, the chocolate industry millions of dollars, or the government of Ivory Coast. We were four journalists and a car.
However, all farmers have known, said no one had visited to tell him to stop using child labor. (A recent report by Tulane in the protocol says that 97% of farms have not been reached.)
Government and several activists of the industry’s task to end child trafficking said they had recently visited the area of reach. Well, not the places we visited.
Traffic taking place in Daloa is easy to find. This is a part of life in this region. It has become normal.
That word normal is a horrible way to describe the trafficking of children, but we were surprised it had become normal for everyone.
Abdul has been working in the field for three years. He is 10. He was trafficked from neighboring farms. You can not leave the farms can not go to school, and is not paid. Abdul is a child slave.
His white shirt has more holes in the back of what makes real cotton. His arms are unusually developed for his age due to hard work.
But Abdul knows nothing else. This is what life is like here. It’s normal.
Sometimes when returning from a shooting, or even when you’re at it, it hits you how terrible it is, the faces of fear and anxiety. The words of pain.
Slavery in the cocoa fields is different.
The children we spoke to in Ivory Coast did not bother. They were not chained or locked up.
These children know nothing more. They do not know what freedom is – can not even imagine it. Are resigned to their fate, because, for them, this is just what happens here.
Slavery in the cocoa fields of Ivory Coast is normal. Is routine. And it’s easy to find.