Fair Trade in France & FranceO TV programme

Last night, FranceO ‘Investigatiôns’ screened Miki Mistrati & Ange Aboa’s film «Le Goût amer du chocolat» (“Shady Chocolate” is the English name)

Thankfully we were notified by Miki that it was due to screen and tried to put the word out amongst our followers in France far & wide to gain more interest!

It’s coming up to Christmas, people are out shopping, chocolate is piled high in all the shops … most of the chocolate on offer is the type that we know is coming from ‘unknown’ sources; i.e. you just can’t be sure if trafficked children have been involved with its production.

Interestingly we’ve been looking at ‘Fair Trade’ chocolate here in France.  ‘Chocolat Equitable’ is usually in a bar/tablet form in shops and becoming increasingly popular with many shoppers, despite the premium price.  However, following discussions with friends and colleagues, it seems that they buy it because they know that there’s no involvement of child labour.

We’re very happy with that; people are becoming more & more aware of the cocoa industry!

But when you examine it a little closer, this chocolate does adhere to fair trade because most of it comes from the Dominican Republic or Peru etc.  There’s seems to be very little involvement of sourcing cocoa in West Africa. 

So to skirt around the problem of child trafficking and child labour, they’ve diverted away from Africa to buy cocoa from countries where the situation doesn’t exist (as far as we know).  In the “Shady Chocolate” film last night, Miki went to investigate the fair trade situation in Ghana.

We’re not against fair trade if it’s truly ‘fair’ http://fairreporters.net/2012/11/14/the-fairtrade-rip-off/ , but looking at the bigger picture by companies such as Alter Eco & Kaoka in France.  Are their efforts of sourcing cocoa in places such as Peru, Dominican Republic & Ecuador to name a few, going to go against the cocoa planters in W.Africa who desperately need investment & pricing parity to enable them to invest in their farms & without child labour?

Isn’t it like burying your head in the sand if all fair trade cocoa purchasing is carried out away from the problems we know exist in West Africa?

Click HERE for more information about the film! http://www.shady-chocolate.com

Any chocolate companies reading this; we do have a plan, supporting farmers & assisting C.R.E.E.R who aim to help the victims of trafficking!  Please get in touch …

Adieu Robin

It’s with a very heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to the talented film maker U. Roberto Romano who drew the world’s attention to child slavery in ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate’, ‘Shady Chocolate’ & ‘The Harvest’ amongst others.

For C.R.E.E.R he was an advocate of human rights, unafraid to take on the big companies, never short of time to give us advice for the future of C.R.E.E.R.

Robin, you’re somewhere up there, a shining star who left us too early; a voice in the massive world of child slavery.  You’ll never be forgotten, your words will continue to ring in our ears to ensure justice is being done.  We will continue the battle to eradicate child labour, to work with the cocoa companies, to continue your legacy & rehabilitate trafficked children.

U. Roberto Romano 1956-2013

U. Roberto Romano 1956-2013

Your voice will live on, you’ll not be forgotten.  Rest in perfect peace Robin!

What hope is there?

A great thanks is owed to Miki Mistrati & Ange Aboa for creating this new online documentary from Burkina Faso, released this morning.

What hope is there for these children & families where the boys aged as young as 12 without any education feel the need to go & work on cocoa plantations to earn money.  Sadly they return without any payment after several years labour.

The villagers say 400-450 a year from a town of 16,000 are trafficked annually, that’s just from one township in one of the neighbouring countries where we know there’s a source of trafficking!  Not just cocoa, we also have to think of those that end up in domestic servitude, prostitution & the mining industry … there are too many!

Halloween Chocolate

Trick or treating is upon us whether we like it or not!

Have you already bought chocolate for Halloween?

Did you read http://nexis.co.uk/pdf/Dark_Chocolate.pdf

The ongoing trafficking of children in Cote d’Ivoire & across the rest of West Africa is an ongoing battle. 

The children that are trafficked for cocoa are a percentage along with those trafficked for domestic servitude and prostitution amongst other ‘trades’.  Major companies such as Hersheys, Cadburys, Ferrero, Mondelez, Green & Blacks, Mars, ADM, Barry Callebaut are all guilty.  

When did you last check the origin of the chocolate you’re eating or give to your children?

Can you make a difference?  Are you able to assist our cause?  Highlight the situation of trafficking in West Africa?

When you open your door to children who ask for chocolate, will you tell them the truth?  That their peers are being bought for as little as 50€ to be sold on as slaves in the chocolate industry and elsewhere???

Help us at C.R.E.E.R to help them, thank you!

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

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

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.

Trafficking WAfrica

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?

Centre de l'Etat

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!

Positive moves in the right direction … time will tell! But still no one looking at the situation with the children that are living on the streets having escaped their situation or those being trafficked across the border! We mustn’t forget, C.R.E.E.R started due to ‘M’ who was in domestic servitude. The figures to find out the ratio of trafficking victims that go into cocoa, domestic servitude or prostitution would be interesting but probably very difficult to obtain and verify!

clccgOn March 12, 2013 nearly 100 interested stakeholders met to discuss the progress made in the last year by the programs of the Joint Declaration of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, towards reducing child labor in the cocoa sectors of Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana.

The Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group (CLCCG) task force came together in September 2010 to support the implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol with the goal of reducing the worst forms of child labor across the cocoa sectors of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire by 70 percent by 2020.  

The CLCCG includes representatives from the US government (Senator Harkin, Congressman Engel, Department of Labor), The Ivorian government, the Ghanaian government, and the chocolate industry.  The US DOL has pledged to support this initiative with $10 million and the industry has pledged $7 million, with an additional $3 million in potential increases to existing projects meeting the goals of the Harkin-Engel Protocol.

Tuesday’s meeting presented an opportunity for all participants to report out…

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