Senators ask CBP to block imports of cocoa made with forced labor

Slideshow ( 2 images )

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ron Wyden of Oregon urged the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency to block the import of cocoa made with forced labor in a letter published on Tuesday.

In the letter dated July 12, the senators urged the CBP to enforce existing laws prohibiting forced labor imports, citing a Washington Post investigation from June that indicated the sector in Ivory Coast still relied on indentured child labor.

“Given the prevalence of forced child labor in the Ivory Coast’s cocoa sector, it is clear at least some, if not a significant portion of those imports, were produced with forced child labor,” the senators wrote.

The United States last year imported over $700 million of cocoa beans and paste from top-grower Ivory Coast.

Reporting by Ayenat Mersie, editing by G Crosse