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Cocoa beans are the basic ingredients of chocolate. They are one of the most heavily traded
commodities in the world. In Europe, major chocolate makers have signed up to Fairtrade programs,
claiming some of their products are made without abusive labour practices. Now the BBC's Paul
Kenyon, posing as a cocoa bean buyer, puts those claims to the test, revealing that despite
Fairtrade's best efforts unscrupulous cocoa suppliers still try and cheat the system.

His name is Fatao. He is just 12 years old and each day he works with a machete harvesting cocoa
beans on a farm in Ghana. The hours are long, the work is dirty and exhausting and he is paid no
money. But the beans he harvests underpin a massive industry that nets companies, in the developed
world, millions and millions of dollars.

His situation is not unique. Across parts of Africa thousands of children, some less than ten years
of age, are forced to work for little or no pay to harvest cocoa beans. Some are trafficked and
moved from country to country to work illegally. Their treatment breaks international labour laws
and yet in many cases very little is done to stop this modern day slavery.

Major chocolate makers acknowledge there are problems involving the use of children. In the United
States, after a major political campaign, companies including Mars and Nestle agreed to sign up to
a six point plan to protect children in the chocolate industry. Nine years on though there is still
no logo on U.S. chocolate stating which brands are free of child labour.

For some activists, including Terry Collingsworth from International Rights Advocates, this is a
completely unacceptable situation:

"Well I think anyone involved in it would have to admit that it's been a complete failure, and what
it has done is given these cocoa companies several years of cover."

In the United Kingdom 10 chocolate bars from different companies now have a Fairtrade logo. For
chocolate lovers that logo is supposed to guarantee children have not been employed illegally in
the making of the chocolate.

But does the Fairtrade label applied to those chocolates in Britain really guarantee that? To test
that question BBC reporter Paul Kenyon went undercover trying to trace the beans that went into
Fairtrade products. What he found will shock many chocolate lovers. In a number of locations he
found the cocoa bean suppliers approved by the Fairtrade initiative did in fact use child labour.
Some were exposed by a Fairtrade audit, others were exposed by the BBC investigation.

Harriet Lamb from the Fairtrade Foundation made it clear she was shocked by the revelations:

"We're extremely concerned about your findings and obviously the first priority must be to make
sure always that the children concerned are taken care of, and that their safety and their future
is looked after. And we have then launched an investigation on the ground together with the farmers
to understand why this problem occurred, where it occurred, and to see what we can do to prevent it
happening in the future."

Not content to simply point out the shortcomings in the system reporter Paul Kenyon then confronts
the child trafficker of "cocoa slaves", who took 12 year old Fatao from his home in Burkina Faso to
work in Ghana. He calls on the local police and forces the man into handing over the young boy and
then manages to re-unite him with his mother.

It is perhaps a small piece of good news, but it does not hide the fact that right now bags of
cocoa beans produced by children are being mixed with "legal" produce. According to the people
buying and selling cocoa there are very few checks and balances and very little foolproof labelling
to show how a product has been produced. That means the chocolate bar you eat today might be
satisfying - but is it costing a small child their freedom and their future?