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Law and Development Review

Editor-in-Chief: Lee, Y.S.

Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.116

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Trade, Development and Child Labor: Regulation and Law in the Case of Child Labor in the Cocoa Industry

William Bertrand / Elke de Buhr
Published Online: 2015-07-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ldr-2015-0019


Voluntary private sector agreements are common as a tool to regulate industries including the enforcement of labor laws in domestic and overseas markets. Agreements cover many different industries, and they differ greatly in scope, implementation and monitoring. Challenging to enforce, they have often been criticized by consumer groups and have sometimes failed. This article examines one of the oldest and most prominent examples of a voluntary industry agreement in agriculture, the Harkin-Engel Protocol targeted at addressing the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sectors of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. In 2006, the authors of this paper were first tasked by the U.S. Department of Labor to oversee the implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol on behalf of the U.S. Congress. They have since documented the Protocol’s implementation for more than eight years. This paper discusses the authors’ experience with private sector voluntary agreements for achieving social change in developing countries at the example of the Protocol. Special issues around the role of regulation and law within this process are our focus in this article.

Keywords: child labor rights; voluntary agreements; international development; worst forms of child labor; cocoa industry


About the article

Published Online: 2015-07-15

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Funding: U.S. Department of Labor, IL-23796-12-75-K/IL-23796C22.

Citation Information: Law and Development Review, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 503–521, ISSN (Online) 1943-3867, ISSN (Print) 2194-6523, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ldr-2015-0019.

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©2015 Law and Development Review.

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