Forced Labour Innovation Project

ICI’s Forced Labour project aims to develop practical tools and approaches to identify, prevent and respond to forced labour risks in the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana

Project overview

Forced labour is a risk faced by the cocoa sector (albeit at a different, more localized and limited scale) and there are increasing calls on the sector to take more focused action to address it. According to previous studies, around 30,000 adults and children may have worked in forced labour between 2013 and 2017 in cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. This represents around 1% of working children and less than 1% of adults working in cocoa-growing communities.

To tackle this problem, ICI launched an innovation project in 2019 to better understand and respond to forced labour in this context. Through the project, we are developing practical ways to identify and mitigate forced labour risks, put in place preventive measures, and allow people in situations of forced labour to raise the alarm and access support.

The innovation project is currently ongoing in ten cocoa-growing communities, five in Côte d’Ivoire and five in Ghana. Working models are being developed to identify forced labour risks, based around the International Labour Organization’s indicators. These risk factors fall into two main groups: signs that work that has been undertaken involuntarily, and that work is carried out under the threat of a penalty.

The project has identified measures to respond to forced labour risks and identified cases. These include the provision of tailored assistance to at-risk workers or victims of abuse, for example through ensuring workers have written employment contracts, supporting workers to obtain due income, and allowing victims to raise the alert (such as through a toll-free hotline).

ICI will share its findings with the cocoa sector and work with its industry, civil society and government partners to implement approaches to reduce risk within the cocoa supply chain in West Africa.

Key project outcomes

  • Working model to identify forced labour cases created
  • Indicators developed to gauge risk levels within communities
  • Context-specific awareness-raising material on forced labour risks created
  • Monitoring, prevention and needs-based remediation actions are being tested within target communities
  • Integration of the model into existing monitoring tools (such as ICI’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems and community-based approaches) is ongoing

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