when an economic boycott is used to intervene in a forced labor or child labor situation. For example, Uzbekistan has serious problems with forced labor in cotton production, but if there were a boycott what would happen to those families who obviously are not responsible for this but in fact would be very significantly, very powerfully, detrimentally affected by an economic boycott of the primary export product of that country? While the government is certainly culpable, the average citizen is possibly not and may not be able to agree to the idea that they should be asked to sacrifice significantly because of our concerns about what happens in producing their product. That is an illustration of what I mean by the broader impact.
One participant noted that it was critical to get at root causes. This individual described a case where a girl was found working in a factory—a case of child labor. The company offered to pay for the girl’s schooling. For whatever reasons the family had—the participant speculated it was underlying poverty—the girl continued to work.
Another noted that in Côte d’Ivoire one of the big problems is that basically farmers get to retain very little money for what they produce. They are taxed for more than two-thirds of what they produce, so they have to make children work, otherwise they cannot make ends meet. We may very well build the schools or organize the community, but the problem is with the government and with all of the corruption surrounding the cocoa industry.
Jeff Morgan noted that many cocoa farmers do not use modern farming techniques and, as a result, yields are lower than they could be. With the combined pressures of taxation and little access to loans, farmers do not have the resources to hire labor. Farm labor is thus more likely to fall on the family.