Just one week after leaving home for the very first time, young Yacouba Darria, age 14, fell into the hands of a child-trafficker and was smuggled to the Ivory Coast's cocoa producing plants. He was smuggled along with another boy his age, both children hooked by the offer of $135 US for each year of labor. "I did not know what kind of work I would do." Yacouba told New York Times reporter Norimitsu Onishi. "I did not even know we were going to the Ivory Coast."
Once they arrived, Yacouba was led to a village of mud houses, miles from even a paved road. He worked here every day, hacking brush with a machete and slicing cocoa pods from trees. The only problem was that after his first year of work, the owner, Petit Tieme, only ended up paying about $13 US, or about four cents a day. This is just a small snapshot of how bad life has become for children of Mali. Yacouba was leaving home for the first time and he was stolen off the streets and forced into servitude.