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CHOCOLATE company Ferrero allegedly uses children as young as 11 in its Turkish factories, according to human rights groups.
The hazelnuts used by the confectionery giant in its products, including the Ferrero Rocher line, which is popular around the world at Christmas, may have been harvested by children working in the agricultural centre.
Interviews with child workers conducted by British campaigning group WeMove Europe and the Centre for Child Rights (CCR) found some as young as 11 saying that they are forced to work for up to 12 hours a day in the Black Sea region.
The child workers in the video allege that they work without contracts or adequate health and safety equipment.
“We walk to the field at 6.30am and start working at 7 or 7.30am. We work until 6pm. This is the second time I have come to work here,” a girl aged 11 said in the footage released on Friday.
A 12-year-old girl said she has been picking hazelnuts for two years.
One farmer said: “If I don’t allow the children to work, [their families] leave because other farmers will hire them.
“When we let them work, we have guilty consciences. At the end of the day, it is a child.”
Many children who work in seasonal agriculture miss the start of the school year.
Last year, about 67 children and teenagers died while working in Turkey, according to the CCR.
Ferrero has acknowledged the problem of child labour in Turkey’s agricultural sector, claiming that the company is “determined to prevent and eliminate child labour all along our supply chains.”
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