OAN’s Elizabeth Bolbelding
11:40pm – Thursday, November 30, 2023
Five-year-old children in Ghana have been spotted using machetes almost as big as themselves to harvest cocoa beans for America’s most popular chocolate bars and candies.
On Wednesday, an anonymous whistleblower at the company released a trove of insider information. It describes how American chocolate giant Mars, which supplies popular sweets such as M&Ms and Snickers, has broken its promise to end the use of child labor. A small subsistence farm in Africa.
a CBS News The crew traveled to Ghana’s remote cocoa region and found small subsistence farms producing Mars candy products.
As a result, despite the company previously pledging to put in place procedures to “eliminate child labor from its supply chain,” the crew found out that children as young as five years old were also working on the farm. discovered.
Crew members said one of the children almost lost a finger while cutting open a cacao fruit.
Munira, a 15-year-old girl, told reporters that she had been working in Ghana’s cocoa fields since she was 5 years old, and that her family “couldn’t afford to send her to school, which is about an hour’s walk away. distance.”
“It’s sad. I want to be something like a doctor,” Munira told reporters. “But my family doesn’t have the money to go to school.”
Field workers at Mars’ cocoa farms told reporters that they consistently keep a list of the names of children enrolled in schools who should be kept away from cocoa farms. he claimed.
Mars had previously promised to make sure children went to school, but supervisors said the candy company “never bothered to check” whether that was actually the case.
When reporters asked Mars representatives about the use of child labor in the production of Mars’ candy products, a spokesperson said, “Mars unequivocally condemns the use of child labor,” and added, “Mars unequivocally condemns the use of child labor in the production of Mars’ candy products.” There is no place for child labor in our company and we are fully committed to its use.” Help eradicate it. ”
“CBS “At the time of this report, we had not provided specific details of the investigation to Mars in advance to investigate the allegations of wrongdoing,” a company spokesperson said. “Mars takes allegations of misconduct in our supply chain very seriously and is committed to thoroughly investigating and taking appropriate action once we receive the necessary information.”
Additionally, Mars issued a press statement regarding the company’s child labor agreements with African cocoa manufacturers.
“African cocoa producers have agreed to abide by our strong supplier code of conduct and implement an industry-leading International Cocoa Initiative-compliant child labor and relief system (CLMRS) by 2025. We have also made it clear that there is a need for “(ICI) standards,” the company said.
“To be clear, we condemn the use of child labor,” the company added. “We continue to work diligently with stakeholders across the cocoa industry to further promote respect for human rights in the cocoa supply chain.”
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