As the world's leading consumer of chocolate, the EU must see that children are not exploited as forced labour to harvest the cocoa beans to make it, say MEPs in a draft resolution to be voted on Wednesday. Parliament also votes Wednesday on whether to give its assent to the new International Cocoa Agreement, which says signatories should seek to improve cocoa industry working conditions.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that over 215 million children worldwide are used as child labourers. Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour, but studies suggest that some children may have been trafficked to work in cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
Article 42 of the Agreement says that "Members shall give consideration to improving the standard of living and working conditions of populations engaged in the cocoa sector, consistent with their stage of development, bearing in mind internationally recognized principles and applicable ILO standards. Furthermore, Members agree that labour standards shall not be used for protectionist trade purposes".
Procedure: Commission statement, consent (international agreement), non-legislative resolution (child labour)
Debate: Tuesday 13 March
Votes: Wednesday 14 March