|General Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana|
This Valentine’s Day we have some things to celebrate!
This coming June 11 we will honor the General Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana (GAWU) for their advocacy for cocoa farmers and their children. We will bring GAWU representatives to Washington, D.C. for the annual Labor Rights Defenders Awards! Please put June 11 on your calendar and come join us in lifting up GAWU’s work to organize cocoa farmers. Please help us build solidarity and put more weight behind their fight to improve farmers’ livelihoods and ensure cocoa farmers’ children are free from child labor and able to go to school.
We are also celebrating the renewed energy and growing coalition of advocates pushing the chocolate industry to take meaningful action to end forced and child labor in their cocoa supply chains. Our friends at Corporate Accountability Lab and International Rights Advocates (headed up by ILRF’s former director, Terry Collingsworth) filed a Tariff Act petition today, asking the U.S. government to exclude cocoa imported from Ivory Coast to the U.S. by nine companies unless they can prove within 180 days that it was not manufactured in any part with forced or trafficked child labor. We hope this can spark new energy in the chocolate industry to address the entrenched poverty that stems from cocoa farmers’ lack of access to market, to information, and to affordable credit – and from the chocolate industry paying far too little for their cocoa. We also hope this can put wind in the sails of those leaders in the Ivorian government, such as the Office of the First Lady, which has been leading their fight to end child labor.
We thank our friends at the Child Labor Coalition, Green America, and the Voice Network for their leadership and continued collaboration. The fight to end child labor in the cocoa industry is ILRF’s longest-running campaign. Over the past couple years we have seen the number of groups supporting the demand to increase farmer incomes multiply tenfold. We are now engaging the Ghanaian and Ivorian governments to figure out how to ensure a higher price translates into higher wages for farmers. Lifting up the role of farmworker unions as part of the solution could not come at a more critical time.
Please help us grow this campaign! Join us in celebrating GAWU this June 11. We are currently inviting sponsors to support the event – click here for details about the event and the other awardees.