West Africa: Child labour rampant in cocoa sector, new study says
Abidjan, 30 July 2002 (IRIN) - Exploitative child labour is still rampant in cocoa-producing communities of West Africa, fresh findings from a joint study by the region's governments, the United States and other stakeholders of the international cocoa industry, show.
The study targeted Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, where more than 4,800 farmers, adult workers, child labourers and community leaders were interviewed by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and national research collaborators.
Conducted with assistance from UNICEF and the International Labour Organization, the study was in conformity with the Sustainable Tree Crops Program, a public-private partnership which seeks to raise incomes and quality of life in cocoa-producing communities without using the "worst forms of child labor", the US Labor Department said in a news release.
Child labour was defined in the study as "work that prevents children from attending and participating effectively in school or is performed by children under hazardous conditions that place their healthy physical, intellectual or moral development at risk". Debt bondage, armed conflict, commercial sexual exploitation and drug trafficking were included as "the worst forms of child labor", IITA said.
Many children were found to be involved in hazardous activities such the use of pesticides and machetes. Family labour was the most common type of labour and that most of the working children were below the age of 14, with boys outnumbering girls, researchers found. Average annual income ranged between US $30 and US $110 per household member but many children received no pay for their work.
[A summary of the findings is available at www.iita.org. The full report of the study is to be released on 1 August]
Related items include: WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA: IRIN focus on regional efforts against child trafficking
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]