The cocoa industry has profited from the utilization of forced labor in West Africa since the late 1800s. Despite the Portuguese decree in 1876 abolishing slavery, and the release of cocoa plantation slaves, slave labor was quickly reemployed, aided by the exploitation of legal loopholes and government officials willing to turn a blind eye. In 1905, after hearing reports of unfavorable labor conditions, William Cadbury dispatched a member of the Anti-Slavery Society to investigate the cocoa plantations. Upon receiving confirmation of human rights violations, Cadbury boycotted Portuguese cocoa and persuaded two other chocolate firms to do the same. Cadbury’s actions affected not only the British chocolate markets, but also American ones, which eventually stopped using slave-produced cocoa.
"Forced Child Labor and Cocoa Production in West Africa,"
Human Rights & Human Welfare: Vol. 8:
1, Article 34.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.du.edu/hrhw/vol8/iss1/34
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