Monday, October 29, 2012

The new slavery

If current trends continue the UN says there will still be about 190 million child labourers in eight years' time.  In the poorest parts of the world, the UN says, the numbers will rise: child labourers in sub-Saharan Africa will jump by around 15 million over the next decade, reaching 65 million by 2020.

 In Ethiopia almost 60% of children work. US chocolate companies had promised to educate all children in areas where it grew cocoa in west Africa – a commitment that would cost the industry $75m or 0.1% of annual sales. Instead it spent about $20m over eight years and reached just 4% of children in cocoa-growing communities in Ivory Coast and 30% in Ghana.

 Kevin Watkins, a former UN official who now works at the respected Washington-based thinktank the Brookings Institution, said: "The conditions of millions of child labourers would shock even the most hardened Victorian social reformers. National governments and international agencies are failing these kids, and reneging on their commitments."

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