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!

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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!

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

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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Excellent piece on the situation!  Please think about the origin of your chocolate this Easter!

Listen Girlfriends!

With Valentine’s Day behind us and Easter just a few weeks away, I thought there was no better time to write a post on the chocolate industry than now, when ‘chocolate season’ seems to be in full bloom. Even though it may seem that I am taking somewhat of a detour from my current series on fashion by writing about all things cocoa, the fact is, the chocolate and textile industries share much in common. Both produce things that give people around the world pleasure, and yet that pleasure often comes at a cost. My previous posts on fashion, conflict minerals and technology have attempted to reveal the obstacles in maintaining transparency across our global supply chains, and chocolate is no exception here. If glamor is a facade that often hides the exploitation behind the fashion industry, then the sweetness of chocolate found within the brightly foiled wrappers can…

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Easter chocolate; your choice!

The supermarket shelves are stacked high with easter eggs already, four weeks before Easter Sunday!

Have you ever thought where many of these chocolate eggs originate from?

Comic Relief in the UK has ‘Red Nose Day’ approaching, prior to Easter; but we’ve yet to see a mention of child trafficking or assistance towards it.

We’re trying to build the centre to give long-term rehabilitation to the many children trafficked in West Africa, not just in cocoa plantations but also working as domestic servants and in prostitution.  Giving them the empowerment they deserve to lead normal adult lives, stopping the vicious circle of trafficking.

Could you help us reach our goal?

Could you help fundraise before Easter?

Could you circulate this post with your friends?

Thank you!

See more here: http://wp.me/p3aqBS-2K

Advocacy or Action?

It’s been mentioned before, there isn’t a centre in the sub-region of West Africa that solely caters for trafficked children.  Please search google; we cannot find much about what is happening to the trafficked children, but lots of advocacy about them.  Very little action.

Due to ‘M’ the little girl who was found on the beach; C.R.E.E.R was created as we recognised her needs and those of many children that have been trafficked into slavery.  They go to orphanages, who don’t have the specialist needs to cater for the emotional needs of the children.

Those are the lucky ones, others are living in the streets having escaped but lost as to where to call ‘home’ having travelled many miles with their trafficker.  Without money to return home, scared of adults who may return them to their lives of slavery; they live in the streets living on the scraps they can find.

We’ve always stuck by our claim that we’re the first residential centre offering rehabilitation, education and vocational skills  in West Africa to be created solely for trafficked children; until this week!

Cote d'Ivoire 4 Cocoa growers using trafficked children

A few days ago we came across another centre.  Not entirely the same but not entirely different.  During a phone call to their offices, there were a lot of similarities.  They cater for children from Lake Volta in Ghana who are trafficked to work in the fishing industry.  Most of the fish isn’t exported so there’s not so much advocacy about it as there is with cocoa production, domestic servitude or prostitution; where the majority of C.R.E.E.R’s future generation are expected to come from.

An incredible conversation, hearing very similar thoughts to what we’ve been dealing with:

1.  No one else has a centre in the region, they believe they are the first, although they are mainly working with children from the lake.  We are now the second in the West African sub-region.

2.  It took them over 18 months to obtain their land; they also experienced endless meetings, false promises and wild goose chases.

3.  Local traditions, culture, bureaucracy; they have experienced a lot in Ghana that we’ve experienced in Cote d’Ivoire (& are still experiencing!)

However, we no longer feel as if we’re scraping in the dark with a speck of light at the end of a long tunnel.  Their organisation is going from strength to strength; there are facets that we would like to introduce at C.R.E.E.R particularly their art therapy.

So, advocacy is all very well, but action is needed too.  We need more help to make our centre a reality & gain action from committed individuals to help fundraise!

When did you last check the origin of your chocolate?

We know this story & have seen it all too often across West Africa, please take the 10m58s to watch this clip of a series of 5.

The Ivorian government is now acting on child trafficking, but the farmers are all scared they will be taken to prison for having the children.

It’s a vicious circle, the farmers get very little for their efforts, they need to keep their overheads down.  They can’t even afford a bar of chocolate in Cote d’Ivoire, it’s out of the question with prices at a minimum of 2€, a bar of ‘Milka’ costs somewhat more.

So are you contributing to the farmer’s efforts?  Have you checked the origin of the chocolate you enjoy?  To ensure there is a fair trade agreement in place?

Help them get out of this vicious circle & therefore stop the use of the children on the farms!

Please don’t forget, the children are not solely trafficked for cocoa production but also to be sold in a variety of other forms, including as a house servant.

If you have 45m to spare, this will give you a real insight into the situation BUT please bear in mind this was filmed prior to the last elections; things are getting better in Cote d’Ivoire but there’s a long way to go still!