After hearing news reports in 2000 and 2001 of child labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Congress passed a rider to the agricultural appropriations bill in the House of Representatives that created a labeling system for chocolate – classifying cocoa as “slave free” if it could be documented that its production hadn’t involved the work of exploited children. Fearing passage of a similar bill in the Senate, the cocoa industry agreed to voluntarily eliminate the worst forms of child labor (according to ILO Convention 182) and forced labor (ILO Convention 29) from their supply chains by 2005. This agreement, signed in September 2001, is known as the Harkin-Engel Protocol.
When the Protocol needed extensions, independent oversight was brought in. In 2006, the Department of Labor hired the Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer at Tulane University to oversee the progress.
Chocolate, Child Labor and Fair Trade
Fair Trade and Catholic Social Teaching