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Agriculture Forests

Child Labor Laws and Policies in Ghana

With Specific Emphasis on the Cocoa Sector

By Taylor Crabbe, Forest Trends, and Fern
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This report, by Ghanaian Law Firm Taylor Crabbe, details the legislative and institutional framework for the protection of human and labor rights, and specifically child labor, in Ghana. It concludes that there is an elaborate existing legislative and institutional framework for the protection of labor and human rights in Ghana, including detailed laws and policies for combatting the exploitation of children as laborers.

Despite this extensive legal framework and a range of relevant implementation initiatives, it is well documented that child labor, including the worst forms of child labor, remains prevalent in Ghana; specifically, in the agriculture (cocoa), forestry, and fishing sectors, although data does suggest that it is declining.

To address child labor, this report makes several recommendations including raising awareness of incidences and the illegal nature of child labor, a realignment of mandates and recourses of enforcement agencies, and improvement of the legislative and institutional architecture for addressing child labor. These recommendations must go hand in hand with measures addressing the root causes of child labor such as the extreme poverty of most cocoa farmers.

Addressing child labor is also important because important consumer markets, notably the European Union (EU), the Netherlands, and the United States, are considering or have already passed policies to regulate the import of cocoa and other forest-risk commodities to ensure these imports are not produced with child labor and do not lead to deforestation.

The EU has indicated a desire to collaborate with Ghana to address child labor and deforestation concerning cocoa and is discussing with the Government of Ghana what this could look like. These discussions may help support the required change in Ghana described in this report.