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The BBC's Humphrey Hawksley
"The confectionary industry said it would see what it could do"
 real 56k

David Bull of the UN Children's Fund
"The wider issues are clearly very important"
 real 56k

Unicef's Esther Galuma in Benin
"This is quite a normal occurance"
 real 28k

The BBC's Liz Blunt
"The nights events were bitterly dissapointing"
 real 56k

The Biscuit, Cake and Chocolate Alliance's Bob Eagle
"On no farms we have visited has slave labour occured"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 23:52 GMT 00:52 UK
Cadbury seeks end to child slavery
Cocoa plantation in Ghana
Cadbury imports 90% of its cocoa from plantations in Ghana
British chocolate giant Cadbury has appealed for an international effort to stamp out child slavery on African cocoa plantations.

The Birmingham-based confectioner made its appeal after a ship suspected of carrying children to work in plantations in Ivory Coast was found with at least 43 children on board.

The MV Etirino had been at sea for more than two weeks amid suspicions it was carrying up to 250 children destined for slavery in a number of West African cocoa plantations.

The incident has highlighted an issue which international human rights campaigners and the chocolate industry says needs to be tackled.

Investigations

Cadbury spokesman Richard Frost said the company was concerned about the problem, but said help needed to come on a worldwide scale.

He said: "What we need to do is to support the efforts of those African governments which are trying to tackle this.

"This needs to be done on a worldwide level."
Etireno
Some suspect the Etireno has been mistaken for another vessel

Officials are investigating the theory that the Nigerian captain of the MV Etirino, which set sail from Benin, may even have thrown part of his human cargo overboard after failing to find a buyer for them.

But members of the United Nations children's agency, Unicef, have still not ruled out the possibility the ship may have been confused with another vessel carrying children for sale.

'Other industries affected'

Mr Frost said Cadbury currently imported 90% of its cocoa from Ghana, which is believed to be unaffected by the child slave trade.

But he stressed that such a trade was unlikely to be confined to the chocolate industry.
Cadbury's Dairy Milk
Britons consume 4m of chocolate each year

He warned that any action against cocoa slave masters should ensure the trade does not then switch to other industries.

"This is not an issue confined to cocoa. We believe the same thing happens with rice, maize and coffee.

"We do not want to sort one problem out to create another."

The Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionary Alliance in the UK said it supported Cadbury's stance and "totally condemned" such criminal activity.

Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Tonge, the party's spokeswoman for international development, said the British public, which spends millions of pounds annually on chocolate, needed to be made aware of the issues.

"People do not realise how their consumption is affecting the lives of the child labourers forced to work on the plantations," she said.

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See also:

17 Apr 01 | Africa
'Slave ship' timeline
16 Apr 01 | Africa
West Africa's 'little maids'
06 Aug 99 | Africa
West Africa's child slave trade
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Benin
28 Sep 00 | Africa
The bitter taste of slavery
29 Sep 00 | Africa
Mali's children in slavery
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