The majority of child labour in cocoa occurs within immediate family settings. Yet there are documented cases of forced labour in localised sections of the cocoa supply chain, which also need to be addressed. 

Three reports released in 2018 shed more light on forced labour risk in cocoa, providing key facts and statistics as well as recommendations for action. The Global Slavery Index, issued by the Walk Free Foundation, provides national prevalence estimates of modern slavery and country-level risk factors, plus key global trends. A sub-report focusing on cocoa, drawn up by Tulane University and ICI member Tony’s Chocolonely, detailed the findings of representative surveys in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. ICI then teamed up with specialist NGO Verité to collate our own risk assessment with these other reports and to produce a series of recommendations on how companies, NGOs and governments can better understand and mitigate the risk of forced labour in the cocoa sector. 

According to these studies, an estimated 2,000 children in Côte d’Ivoire and 14,000 children in Ghana were victims of forced labour between 2013 and 2017. Identified drivers of forced labour are poverty, price volatility in cocoa, low levels of education, migratory and seasonal workforce flows in the region, and constraints on effective law enforcement in remote, rural areas. We and our members recognise forced labour as a real, localised risk in the cocoa supply chain, and as a serious issue that merits close attention and decisive action. Within our revised strategy, we are reviewing and adapting our existing supply chain monitoring tools to better capture forced labour risks in high-risk areas, dedicating one of our three innovation streams to the issue. We will also help supply chain actors design grievance mechanisms for hidden labour exploitation and will revise our training materials to raise awareness about the risks. Finally, ICI will work with government services and specialised NGOs to strengthen their support for workers and children identified as being engaged in, or at risk of, forced labour.