U.S. Lawmakers visit Côte d’Ivoire to check progress on child labor

Tom Harkin and Elliot Engel who crafted the voluntary child labor protocol in 2001 are visiting the Côte d’Ivoire to get a first hand look at progress made to eliminate the worst forms of child labor there. They are unlikely to find much. The 2005 deadline in the original protocol passed without any measurable progress. The chocolate industry promised a system by 2008 but last October the Payson Institute at Tulane University indicated that there was no indication that such a system as emerging. It is therefore doubtful that the 2008 deadline will be kept and that there will be a system in place that can assure consumers that the cocoa in their chocolate bars was not produced by children who worked either in dangerous circumstances or who were forced to work without pay.

NY cocoa futures March delivery: $2131

Côte d’Ivoire cocoa spot price: $2468

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