Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder has urged Europe to do more to help tackle trafficking of human beings in the west African cocoa industry.
During a meeting in Kinshasa between the European Parliament and parliamentarians from across Africa, Mrs Bearder pointed to the Tulane report as evidence that progress is coming very slowly on this issue. She urged the European Commission to offer region and ensure children are protected from this exploitation.
After hearing the Commission's response, Mrs Bearder commented, "Exploitative child labour and the trafficking of children is a huge problem for the west African cocoa industry and much more needs to be done to stop it."
"The Tulane report into this industry showed that change is not happening fast enough so the EU needs to offer whatever help it can to the cocoa industry and the governments of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana."
"Child labour and the trafficking of children are not two distinct issues - they are directly connected and need to be tackled together."
"The EU is doing great work to stop exploitative child labour, but we need to address the problem of child trafficking at the same time otherwise children will continue to be exploited."
*The Tulane report examines efforts to establish child labour monitoring and verification systems in West Africa to assess progress made toward meeting obligations under the Harkin- Engel Protocol.
**The Harkin-Engel Protocol is a voluntary agreement aimed at ending child labour in the production of cocoa. It was signed in September 2001 by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA) and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).