Cadbury faces child labor claims on its cocoa farms
Footage has emerged of young people wielding machetes cutting down cocoa pods on Ghanaian fields.
The firm which owns Cadbury faces allegations that children, as young as ten, are being used to harvest cocoa on its farms.
Footage was released showing youngsters with machetes cutting down cocoa pods on farms in Ghana that supply Mondelez International.
Farmers, according to activists, cannot afford to hire adult workers. Ayn Riggs of Slave Free Chocolate described the footage obtained by Channel 4's dispatches as "horrifying", with toddlers wielding knives sometimes half their height.
"Chocolate companies promised to clean up over 20 years ago," she told The Observer. "They knew they were profiting from child labor and have shirked their promises."
Mondelez's sustainability program, called Cocoa Life, states, "No amount of child labor in the cocoa supply chain should be acceptable."
The company stated it was "concerned" and was looking into it.
The revelations emerged after the chocolate industry's busiest time of year when more than £300million is spent on chocolate Easter eggs and treats in the UK.
On one of the farms alleged to be supplying Mondelez, one of the world's largest snacks companies, two children with machetes were filmed by the documentary team weeding the plantations.
Other children were filmed using sharp knives to open cocoa pods and harvest them from trees, noting that none of them wore protective clothing.
The daughter of one farmer who claimed to be supplying Mondelez said she had sliced her foot open while using a long machete. Another said she was "too afraid" to speak out about being forced to work on the farm.
A Mondelez spokesperson said, "We explicitly prohibit child labor in our operations and have been working relentlessly to take a stand against this."