Darkest of all, over the years, journalists and other organisations have exposed the widespread use of child labour and, in some cases, slavery on cocoa farms. The majority of child labour has been reported in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
Extreme poverty in Western Africa results in children working at young ages to support their families. Some children are sold to cocoa farms by human traffickers, while others are sold by relatives, many of whom are unaware of the dangerous working conditions.
In 2021, Nestlé, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Olam, Hershey, and Mondelz, some of the world's leading chocolate companies, were named in a lawsuit filed by human rights organisation International Rights Advocates on behalf of eight former child slaves who claimed they were forced into unpaid child labour on farms in Western Africa.