mars chocolate child labor controversy company use kids as young as 5
Mars Chocolates, America’s most-loved chocolate brand, is under scrutiny for alleged child labor practices in Ghana, a country in West Africa. According to a CBS News report, children as young as 5 years old are harvesting cocoa beans for the company.
Child labor is a cognizable criminal offense in many countries. UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) focuses on services to prevent child labor. However, Mars, the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, is allegedly using child labor.
According to CBS News, small children are working in farms in Ghana to harvest cocoa beans for the American company. Children as young as five have been working in Ghana’s remote cocoa belt.
Munira, 15, one of those children, has worked for Mars company. She has worked in the cocoa fields in Ghana for Mars since she was 5 years old.
She told CBS News, “I feel sad. I want to be, like, a medical doctor. But my family doesn’t have money for school.”
Her 12-year-old brother Gafalo also works in the cocoa fields in Ghana for Mars company. However, he wants to study and go to school.
Mars Chocolate child labor controversy
CBS News’ investigative team traveled to Ghana to highlight the plight of young children. The team saw young children working hard to collect cocoa beans.
Hundreds of children revealed that they harvested cocoa either before or after school. Child labor continues in Ghana despite loud proclamations of commitment from the company to eradicate such practices by 2025.
Previously, the company said it had a robust monitoring system in place to prevent child labor practices and ensure children remain in school. However, CBS News found that the reality was far from this claim. Children as young as five were found working on farms.
The petition against Mars crosses 20,000 signatures
The allegations against Mars have ignited public outrage. A petition against the company on change.org has garnered over 25,000 signatures. The petition highlights the exploitation of children in cocoa factories in Ghana.
Mars has failed to honor its promise to end the use of child labor in cocoa harvesting. Child labor takes away the children’s right to education and is a blow to human rights.
In response to the allegations, Mars reaffirmed its commitment to eradicating child labor. The events unfolding in the cocoa fields of Ghana are a stark reminder of the urgent need to eradicate child labor.