Despite global efforts to eradicate child labor, it remains a reality within agriculture in many countries. In most cases, poverty of rural households and lack of access to quality education are the main causes contributing to child labor. As Tradin Organic sources its ingredients around the globe, we are aware that some of our organic farming communities may be at risk of child labor.
For this reason, Tradin Organic is launching a new Child Protection Program for our cocoa farming communities in Sierra Leone. This program represents the next big leap in our efforts to eradicate child labor and is an addition to the work that we are already doing to help address this issue. Initially, this Child Protection Program will focus on our cocoa supply chain in Sierra Leone, allowing us to create a blueprint that we can expand to other supply chains.
Tradin Organic has a long history of working together with organic farmers around the world. Some of the farming communities that we work with are based in remote areas, where poverty can be an issue. These communities have limited access to basic services, like clean drinking water, health care or education. As a result of these circumstances, we know that some of these communities may be at risk of child labor.
At Tradin Organic we believe that our organic sourcing projects should be pivotal in helping farming communities eradicate child labor. Over the past years, we have already set up a range of initiatives to further those efforts. Firstly, our Supplier Code of Conduct strictly forbids our suppliers to use child labor. Secondly, we work with certification programs, such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, etc., to help guarantee that our suppliers have child labor prevention policies in place. On top of to these certifications, we have developed different community projects to promote child protection. In Ethiopia we have helped build a school for the children of our organic sesame farmers and in Peru we have helped build a cafeteria at the local school our chia farmer’s children attend.
With our new Child Protection Program, we want to take the next leap in the prevention of child labor in our organic cocoa sourcing project in Sierra Leone. Going beyond the Fairtrade and organic certifications, we have begun to set up a large-scale project that will help our cocoa farming communities to address poverty and access to education, in order to protect children and keep them in school.
The first step of our Child Protection Program is to carry out a baseline study. Several studies have already been done on child labor in cocoa production in other West African countries, but relatively little is known about the prevalence of child labor in our sourcing area, Sierra Leone. The aim of this study is to understand the breadth of child labor within cocoa production in Sierra Leone and to help us to identify the key contributing factors leading to this issue. These findings will allow us determine the best ways in which we can support our cocoa farming communities and help prevent child labor.
After completing our baseline study, we will work together with our cocoa farming communities to set up a continuous monitoring and remediation system. This will help us to monitor any communities that are at risk of child labor and to develop projects to help prevent child labor in these communities. These community projects will address the underlying causes of child labor, such as poverty and lack of access to education. Working together with our cocoa farming communities, we will help prevent child labor and keep children in school.
To make our Child Protection Program a success, we rely on partnerships with different government institutions, as well as local and international NGO’s. Only by working together can we address the underlying causes of child labor and eradicate this problem for good. We are continuously looking to strengthen our partnerships and get more people involved in our fight to prevent child labor.
Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V.
Stationsplein 61 - 65
1012AB Amsterdam, NL