MEPs urge consumers to buy Fair Trade chocolate and help combat child labour

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Ahead of World Fair Trade day on May 12th Yorkshire and Humber Labour MEP, Linda McAvan, hosted an event in the European Parliament highlighting the issue of child labour on cocoa farms and urged consumers to make a statement by buying Fair Trade.

Participants at the event were shown a special film by US news company CNN about child labour on West African cocoa farms where tens of thousands of children, the majority under 12, are involved in backbreaking and sometimes dangerous work. None of the children interviewed had ever eaten chocolate - most did not even know what it was.

Despite the cocoa industry having signed up to the 'Harkin-Engel protocol'../../../../../news/2012/04/25/europese-motie-roept-op-tot-wetgeving-tegen-kinder/">adopting a resolution condemning child labour in the cocoa sector. 

After the film screening participants took part in a panel discussion with Linda McAvan (MEP S&D), Keith Taylor (MEP Greens/EFA), Sirpa Pietikäinen (MEP EPP), Atika Shubert (correspondent for the CNN Freedom Project), Marieke Poissonnier (Oxfam), Sergi Corbalán (FTAO), filmmaker and journalist Miki Mistrati and Sabine Nafziger (COABISCO).

During this panel discussion, a broad agreement was voiced on the need for the European Parliament to take their responsibility. The parliament was called to create a ‘Level Playing Field’ in the cocoa industry through proper legislation. This will ensure that eradication of violations of fundamental human rights, such as human trafficking and worst forms of child labour, is expected from all players in European chocolate production and consumption.