Around the world there are about 5 million and a half children exploited in cocoa farms. About one third of the cocoa in circulation worldwide comes from Ivory Coast and 20% of the production from Ghana while Nigeria, Cameroon, Indonesia, Brazil and Ecuador produce the rest. In West Africa, cocoa is mainly grown to export and cocoa farmers hardly can live selling cocoa beans, so children are exploited in order to keep the cocoa price competitive considering that chocolate industry demand cheap cocoa.
Children working in cocoa farms live in poverty and start working at a very young age, which can vary from 5 to 17 years old. Some children are sold by their fathers and mothers to traffickers or to the farm owners, while others are kidnapped by traffickers and then sold to farmers. Once in the cocoa farms, children will not be able to see their parents and siblings for years or even forever.
Those young farmers are forced to do hard work that involves the worst forms of exploitation. The cultivation of cocoa provides, in fact, that small workers climb trees with machetes to drop the fruit from which it subsequently extracting the seeds of the cocoa. This is not, however, the only dangerous and strenuous activity that involves the use of a plantation. Children often have to use pesticides, carry heavy loads, burn the leaves, clear the ground, drying cocoa beans.
Children working in cocoa farms are definitely the losers in global political economy because working in such hard conditions hinter their physical and mental development as well as deprives them from their childhood and deny them the right to have an education. In the majority of the cases these children will become illiterate adults and will remain in extreme poverty, because they lack the possibility to grow in their social and professional life.