The Human Rights Foundation was founded by Thor Halvorssen to address issues of human rights around the world. Thor unfortunately brings personal experience to the field where he is often sought out by news sources around the world. His family has had their human rights violated by the Venezuelan government.
Thor started out as a student activist while studying in England. The issue that he chose to speak out on at that time was South African apartheid. Now, thoughts of people that have their rights violated around the globe are seldom far from his mind. One issue that greatly concerns Thor is child slavery.
Two the countries where child labor is most prevalent are Ghana and the Ivory Coast where children are used to harvest cocoa and manufacture chocolate candy bars. It is estimated that almost 500,000 children are employed in the fields and many more in factories. It is estimated that over 95,000 children are working in Ghana where children as young as five may cut grass with a machete. Many people believe that if they buy a candy bar that is marked for fair trade, then a child slave is not involved in its production. Unfortunately, children can still be used in its production after the cocoa has been harvested. Additionally, many girls are given into slavery in Ghana so that religious leaders will forgive their sins.
Another country where child slavery is a huge problem is in mining where children often have to work 24 hour shifts. This problem particularly exists in Ghana, Niger, Peru and Tanzania. In many areas, these workers are girls because they have no cultural value. Their work is seen as helping their family make a meager living. While international laws now exist making buying gemstones from mines against the law, many children work in small mining operations that governments choose to ignore.
Another area where child labor is a huge problem is in Middle Eastern countries where children are used as camel jockeys. One place where this exist is in the United Arab Emirates where children as young as two are often sold into slavery. The owners then take steps to stunt the baby’s growth. In order to escape international attention, press is always focused on the winning camels. Unlike horse racing, in camel racing each camel does not have to carry the same amount of weight. Therefore, the camel carrying the lightest weight has an advantage.