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Hershey’s Facing Accusations of Child Labor in Super Bowl Ad

Hershey’s alleged use of child-slave labor will be the subject of a commercial titled “Hershey’s Chocolate: Kissed by Child Labor.” The first-ever Super Bowl “brand-jamming” ad will appear on a jumbotron screen immediately outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 5, alongside spots by McDonalds, AllState and others; and is expected to reach over 250,000 consumers attending Super Bowl day activities.

The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) is sponsoring the ad, which features West African children forced to harvest cocoa for the giant chocolate maker alongside Hershey’s chocolate Kisses.

Despite nearly 10 years of commitments from Hershey’s to take responsibility for its cocoa supply chain and improve conditions for workers, significant problems persist, according to ILRF. Last week, CNN aired a documentary about child labor, trafficking and forced labor practices that continue to plague the West African cocoa industry.

Unlike some of its competitors, Hershey has made no movement to allow a third-party to investigate the exploitation of children by its cocoa suppliers, ILRF says.

“Additionally, Hershey’s refuses to provide information about how the small amount of money it has invested in West Africa has actually reduced forced, trafficked and child labor among its cocoa suppliers,” ILRF says in a news release.

“In West Africa, where Hershey’s sources much of its cocoa, over 200,000 children are forced to harvest cocoa beans every year,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of ILRF. “Hershey prides itself on its commitment to supporting underserved children in the United States, yet it lags behind when it comes to putting policies in place to end the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry.

“Hershey has no policies in place to purchase cocoa that has been produced without the use of child labor, and the company has consistently refused to provide public information about its cocoa sources,” she added.

 

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