Aminah is on her way

Aminah is on her way south to us; at 3pm today was south of Orleans heading to us in deepest southern France.  www.overlandingwestafrica.com‘s shiny blue ‘truck’ with her new stickers for the 2013/2014 season .  Our boxes will once again be taken by Aminah ready for our centre in Cote d’Ivoire!  Overlanding West Africa are yet again being generous with a donation from their ticket sales to support our future centre to rehabilitate trafficked children in West Africa!

Aminah with her new flags

Aminah with her new flags

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And so CNN had to leave …

But not without a great second day with our team in Cote d’Ivoire took CNN Freedom Project Presenter Richard Quest & team to Divo meeting planters en masse, offering them chocolate which many won’t have tasted before as they don’t have the means to pay for it.   Sadly the box the chocolate is in is probably the equivalent to a days salary at most!

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C.R.E.E.R’s Secretary PC with CNN Freedom Project’s Richard Quest & cocoa planters in Divo, Cote d’Ivoire

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Richard Quest, CNN’s Freedom Project offering chocolates to cocoa planters in Divo; many won’t have tried chocolates & the cost of manufacturing the box is probably a days salary for many!

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CNN’s Richard Quest being filmed in Divo by Beau Molloy

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Group goodbyes, from L to R: Erick Attiapo, C.R.E.E.R’s Director, Matt, CNN’s Executive Producer, PC, C.R.E.E.R’s Secretary of the Board in Cote d’Ivoire & Beau Molloy, CNN Cameraman

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Just before CNN’s Richard Quest flew out of Abidjan, with PC & Erick from C.R.E.E.R either side of him

The trip was a great success for CNN & for C.R.E.E.R to be involved, although CNN Freedom project was following up on child labour in cocoa plantations; what mustn’t be forgotten is that there are children also being trafficked for domestic servitude & prostitution!

CNN have arrived!

We are incredibly proud to have CNN International in Cote d’Ivoire with our team.

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C.R.E.E.R’s future Director, Erick with Matt, CNN’s Executive Producer early this morning

It’s been kept a secret for the last two months whilst preparations were underway in London, New York & Cote d’Ivoire to assist their crew of four; Richard Quest, CNN’s Business Presenter is part of the team that is currently filming.

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Short roadside break for Richard Quest & Matt to take some photos!

Our Ivorian team have been instrumental in assisting CNN’s passage to Cote d’Ivoire with visas & helping arrange meetings.  We’re also indebted to U. Roberto Romano, Cinematographer (Shady Chocolate & Dark Side of Chocolate) who assisted our cause with a dinner meeting in New York.

This morning at 7am, our Secretary, Paul Camille & Director, Erick picked up the CNN team at their hotel.

They have gone up-country & are showing CNN ‘another’ side of Cote d’Ivoire for three days.  CNN were initially invited by Nestle’s President to carry out filming on the progress that they’ve made since CNN’s last film about cocoa production & child labour.

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Roll, camera, action … in a cocoa plantation!

Currently as this is typed they’re deep into a cocoa plantation & filming as this photo shows; we’ll update you as we hear more from them!

Thanks for your support!

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C.R.E.E.R’s Secretary with CNN’s Anchor Richard Quest

#FreedomProject our post about CNN’s 1st film:  https://creercentre.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/182/

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Richard Quest, CNN Anchor discussing with PC & Erick from C.R.E.E.R in a cocoa plantation near Agboville, Cote d’Ivoire

Syndicated: organized crime and human trafficking

Very interesting piece on human trafficking that could be applied anywhere in the world. Particularly after one of our followers alerted us to this situation with a young Egyptian girl ‘sold’ to a Nigerian Senator http://news.peacefmonline.com/news/201307/169804.php

The mere mention of human trafficking gangs suggests a seedy, clandestine underbelly of organized international criminal syndicates focused on profiting from the exploitation of vulnerable individuals. The terms “gang”, “syndicate” and “organized crime group” are bandied about the anti-trafficking world on a regular basis as descriptors for those who undertake, facilitate and/or enable exploitation. But when interrogated, the terms become slightly opaque, perhaps challenging perceptions about the actors complicit in human trafficking.

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Akwaba Sébastien!

We are thrilled to welcome Sébastien Jadot to the C.R.E.E.R team, based in Brussels, Belgium; seat of the EU government he has an excellent background to join C.R.E.E.R as a Policy Analyst and on a benevolent level.

Sébastien wrote an excellent article on the historical & political background to cocoa farming; highlighting the reasons why the farmers are in need of child labour:

http://www.consultancyafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1190%3Acote-divoires-blood-beans-big-men-politics-conflict-and-environmental-degradation-in-the-land-of-cocoa-&catid=92%3Aenviro-africa&Itemid=297

He will be working closely with C.R.E.E.R’s teams in France & Cote d’Ivoire, as well as our supporters globally.  He will be writing policy briefs exploring debates regarding child trafficking for the cocoa from an EU perspective and their policies in regards to cocoa plantations with Cote d’Ivoire as a particular focus.

We’re particularly keen to work with EU government policy makers & stakeholders to make a change for the future as well as providing support to C.R.E.E.R & the start of the centre!

As is said in Cote d’Ivoire ‘Akwaba’ & thank you for agreeing to join us!!!

STOP PRESS from Friday 12th July 2013

Following our STOP PRESS piece on Friday, here are the two articles mentioned.

A massive thanks goes to C.R.E.E.R’s Vice President in Cote d’Ivoire who retrieved these articles!  Please note these children are going to ‘several NGO’s’ but many we suspect will be orphanages who aren’t used to dealing with the emotional needs of these children.

1st copy: NOUVEAU REVEIL

2nd copy: LE PATRIOT

Both published Friday 12th July, 2013ImageImage

Annual Fundraiser

Gorgeous small village in southern France near the Spanish border … come & assist C.R.E.E.R please; crazy games for the whole family!

Music in the evening for the young, or a choral in the 11th century Abbey!

JeuxMondiaux 2013Lots of varying accomodation on site, from camping to luxury hotels!

STOP PRESS!!!

We have just been alerted that 200 trafficked chldren were found in transport in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire heading for cocoa farms the night of 10th/11th July (the night before last)

The majority are apparently from neighbouring Burkina Faso; there is also talk that they are part of a convoy of 750 trafficked people but this isn’t confirmed.

Whilst we’re really happy that the Ivorian authorities have found these children; we have a few questions:

1.  Who is going to manage these children?

2.  Where will they be in the interim prior to being taken home?

3.  How did they cross the border?

Our own view is that they probably entered Cote d’Ivoire in small numbers with an adult as happens on the Ghanaian border so as to divert any suspiscicn.  This was discussed with an Ivorian lady in April who has a shop in Elubo and is aware of children crossing with an adult, usually up to 5 children at a time.

We hope that the situation for these 200 children will be resolved shortly & they can return home as quickly as possibly; however there’s always the worry they’ll be re-trafficked!

 

(An article was seen in Le Patriote & Nouveau Reveil 12/07/13 concerning this situation)

Discussions at Nestlé

Silence has prevailed for a few months, the C.R.E.E.R board have been busy with a number of projects for future fundraising.  On return from the founder’s visit from Cote d’Ivoire, we rang Nestlé again who were already aware of us, to explain what happened on the trip there.

Nestlé invited us to Vevey, their HQ in Switzerland at 10am on 9th July.  Train tickets for the Founder & Treasurer were duly booked & a hostel reservation was made.  The day of departure, the Treasurer wasn’t well with a bad back that had been a problem over the weekend.  On Monday 8th July, the Founder found herself alone boarding the train to Vevey via Geneva & Nimes.

After a long 11hour train trip with 3 changes, Vevey was in sight, a beautiful town on Lake Leman!

??????????DSCN2288??????????The meeting started at 10am,  Nestle has it’s own Avenue in Vevey; a short walk from the lovely ‘Grande Place’.  A presentation had already been put together for the meeting with a few extra support letters arriving at the last minute that needed printing out.

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Overall, the meeting went well, C.R.E.E.R is a ‘new’ NGO without a building as yet or children so the fact that Nestle’s door remains open is a positive.

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However a few questions were puzzling.  Without wanting to explicity say ‘there are trafficked children on cocoa farms in Cote d’Ivoire (which we are SURE you are aware of)’ there were a few questions that were raised in regards as to ‘where’ the children for the centre would appear from.

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Surely this is obvious, there are children out there that have runaway from their enslavement and living on the streets.  There are children that are arriving at the borders that need specialist assistance & not to be put in an orphanage.  There are also those children that may hear of us & come to us.  However C.R.E.E.R will not be visiting farms to extract children from cocoa farmers, this would cause chaos!

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A second issue was the repatriation.  C.R.E.E.R will be working with other organisations both on a governmental level & in terms of iNGO’s such as UNICEF, Oxfam etc to ensure that repatriation will give a solid future for each child.  Of course we cannot assess & are not ‘gods’ to make the decision for each child but we aren’t prepared to repatriate a child to a home where the family may re-sell that child or they aren’t accepted into the community.  Those that ‘can’t’ go home for whatever reason will be offered a place on a long term basis in the centre; but this won’t be our work, it will be the work of external organisations to ensure their future.

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Another point that was raised was why the government aren’t carrying out this project.  It was clearly stated that the government had built two centres for a total cost of US$206,000 & had written about this in the US AID TIP 2013 which they then refused to acknowledge any donations as their trafficking problem would be kept in-house.  The centre that we visited in 2011 during the crisis was built in a shantytown.  It had never been used, it was vandalised, people were squatting on the land with their own buildings … need we go on???  Sorry, but Nestlé, had you done your homework on this?

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We were touched by the letter from Mr. Outtara, a Director of a governmental agency that we met in Abengourou who strongly wrote in our favour.  As well as many other supporters including our US based Ghanaian consultant.

Support from all our followers is still needed to ensure that Nestlé as well as other companies support our mission, that we can get this project off the ground!

Thanks for continuing to follow us!

In Search of the “African Middle Class”

Excellent piece on the highs & woes of the continent currently. The elite classes have such control & unfortunately sometimes corrupt. This doesn’t help those out in the countryside (or indeed in towns) trying to feed their families; including cocoa planters!

Africa is a Country (Old Site)

“Africa Rising” stories have become old news in English-speaking media, so much so that Africa is a Country called them a meme not long ago. But only a few have run in French news outlets, and one such op-ed [fr] recently made it to the pages of the well-respected daily newspaper Le Monde. The piece has a specific flavor for a couple of reasons: a condescending and prescriptive tone, also known as the Françafrique touch, as its title trumpeting that “Africa is on the right tracks” (L’Afrique est bien partie) makes clear; an emphasis on the rise of the “African middle class”, portrayed as the cornerstone of the “African economic revolution”, whose origins are to be found in “diversifying and emancipating economies”, enabling “endogenous growth” that is free of the “dependency on raw materials exports” because it is “driven by consumption”. Such a nice Cinderella story! Who…

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