What is it?
In 2001 Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced legislative admendment to fund the development of a "No child slavery" label for chocolate products sold in the U.S. Tom Harkin (D-IA) became involved and essentially the admendment was watered down to create the "Protocol for the growing and processing of cocoa beans and their derivative products in a manner that complies with ILO Convention 182 concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor" and adult forced labor on cocoa farms in West Africa.
It was signed by the 8 largest companies, two US Senators, one US congressman, the Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, and a few NGO and industry alliance representatives.
The industry groups World Cocoa Foundation and the Chocolate Manufactors Assciation committed to develop and implement voluntary standards to certify cocoa produced without the "worst forms of child labor," (defined according to the International Labor Organization's Convention 182) by July 2005.
....From the outset, the Protocol has suffered from some serious design flaws. While industry has specifically addressed the worst forms of child labor under ILO Convention No. 182 and forced labor under ILO Convention 29, it has not addressed other core labor rights in the agreement or in its activities, such as minimum age of employment under ILO Convention No. 138. Further, the industry-led initiative fails to call for concrete steps to ensure that farmers are getting a fair price for their product, which significantly impacts the use of child labor, as farmers are forced to reduce production costs and rely on the cheap labor of children....Read more of ILRF's paper on protocol