In the News

Bittersweet Chocolate

By Caroline Tiger

Chances are good that child workers -- some of whom are slaves -- helped produce your valentine bonbons. The chocolate industry has promised to get kids out of the cocoa trade. But profits still come before progress.

Child Victims of Coffee Trade Wars

BBC News

By Nicola Carslaw

BBC consumer affairs correspondent in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

However much you are prepared to pay for a cup of coffee, the growers just get paid a pittance.

Coffee is a commodity crop - the second biggest after crude oil - and due partly to over-supply world coffee prices have reached record lows in the past few months.

In Nicaragua, growers are having to abandon their farms.

Now, the United Nations World Food Programme says one-in-eight children is starving.

Senate Panel to Defy Bush, Vote on Women's Treaty

Washington Post

Excerpt from article:

In an almost unheard-of challenge to presidential prerogative, the Democratic Senate is preparing to consider ratification of an international treaty the White House has indicated it may not want approved.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) has scheduled a committee vote today on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a 23-year-old United Nations document that was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and has languished ever since.

U.S. Ban Sought on Cocoa Produced by Child Slaves

San Jose Mercury News

By Steven Thomma

A labor-rights advocacy group asked the U.S. government Thursday to ban

imports of cocoa from Ivory Coast, saying a new investigation revealed that little

had been done to stop the use of child slave labor in its harvesting.

The group, the Washington-based International Labor Rights Fund, asked the

Customs Service to invoke a 1997 law that prohibits imports of any good

"produced or manufactured with bonded child labor." The group said the only

Ecuador Border Tainted by U.S. Coca Killer

San Francisco Chronicle

by Reese Ehrlich, Chronicle Foreign Service

San Francisco Chronicle - May 18, 2002

San Francisco 2 Ecuador -- Walking along a dirt trail in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, subsistence farmer Santiago Tanguila says life in this village on the Colombian border has always been difficult.

But now, he says, pointing to trees with yellow, withered leaves, the village's 32 residents are facing a new challenge.

Pattern of Sexual Violence Against Women & Their Daughters Revealed in Production of Imported Kenya Coffee


May 17, 2002

"Our research shows that the US imports Kenyan coffee processed by women who suffer routinely from violent sexual abuse by their employers and supervisors. Even their daughters, who live with them on the agricultural plantations, have been raped. Senator Baucus' amendment to the Fast Track bill will help Americans say no to such practices and help working women protect themselves," says Natacha Thys, Director of the International Labor Rights Fund's (ILRF) Rights for Working Women Campaign.