Covid Child Labour

REPORT FINDS COVID-19 INCREASED CHILD LABOUR

The latest report from the International Cocoa Initiative has found a significant increase in the number of children undertaking hazardous work in cocoa production in the Côte d’Ivoire.

As stated by the non-profit organisation’s data from a total of 263 cocoa-growing communities, the country had shown a 21% increase in cases of incidents of minors carrying out commercial activity in the sector.

The matter of child labour within the cocoa industry remains critical. The confectionery sector’s biggest companies have committed to mutual action in tackling the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which represent two-thirds of the worlds cocoa production.

However, sector estimates for the two countries report that at least two million children are working in some form of child labour in the cocoa sector.

The data from ICI’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems found an increase in child labour identification from 16% to 19% during the partial Covid-19 lockdown between 17 March and 15 May.

Rapid analysis of data collected from the International Cocoa Initiative’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) in Côte d’Ivoire showed a rise in hazardous child labour during the country’s lockdown, which the organisation said was especially concerning.

Moreover, the organisation stated that a separate telephone survey conducted with 515 cocoa producers in Côte d’Ivoire between 2 June to 9 June, uncovered over half of the respondents reported a decrease in household income since lockdown began in March.

A recent review of the evidence of the impact of changes in smallholder farmers’ income had on child labour, showed that sudden drops in income tend to result in an increase in child labour.

International Cocoa Initiative will further examine the causes of child labour increases and is exploring a new collaboration with the Jacobs Foundation to pilot innovative ways of responding.

They say that the findings will be used to improve the effectiveness and resilience of government, industry, and civil society approaches to ensure that children in cocoa-growing communities are appropriately protected from future shocks.

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