A few days ago, a new series of 5 episodes on history of chocolate made its debut on Pathfinder Web TV (research and story by me).
This is the first episode, for more click here.
It is true that millions around the world share a love for chocolate.
However, chocolate has a very dark side for thousands of people living in the cocoa sector of West Africa, since they are forced to labour in the production of cocoa, chocolate’s primary ingredient.
Moreover, thousands of childhoods are trafficked from Mali and Burkina Faso to work on the plantations of Ivory Coast, which is the top supplier of the world’s cocoa. Some 290.000 children work yearly day and night in about 600.000 farms. Hundreds of them have been kidnapped or forced into slavery while others have been sold by their extremely poor families. The low prices we see in America and Europe get lower on the backs of poor farmers who have to depend on the labour of their children because they can’t afford to pay workers. Since farmers use their own children to help them, many of them do not see why it is wrong to use the labour of other children.
At the same time, the chocolate companies are getting incredible profits.
Of course, most cocoa children have no education.
Of course, child slaves, besides working under inhuman and potentially injurious conditions, are paid little or nothing and they are scarred from malnutrition.
Of course, they are viciously beaten if they try to escape and are often victims of sexual exploitation.
What can we do?
With the Easter chocolate bunnies and eggs upon us, it’s a good time to take into consideration the child slaves in West Africa. So, let’s buy fair trade chocolate and cocoa products that are certified as slave labor free. This way we will help small producers of cocoa get a fair price for their product and cocoa workers get paid. Thus, they will be able to afford to send their kids to school instead of to work. Increased access to education is a key component in any effective strategy to reduce poverty and exploitative child labour.
If consumers demand for Fair Trade chocolate increases, perhaps Hersey, Nestle, Lindt, Mars and other chocolate companies will put human rights before profit, bring the changes necessary to ensure fair wage and fair labour practices and eliminate child exploitation once and for all.
Consumers hold the power… Each of us can make a difference, each of us can create a better world. Lets put an end to the disastrous cycle of poverty and child slavery and exploitation beginning with something simple as the type of chocolate we buy.
(To see if the chocolate you buy is slavery- free please visit: http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/main.html)
I recommend you to watch the following documentary ” The dark side of chocolate” by M. Mistrati and R. Romano. The film investigates the continued allegations of child trafficking and forced labour in the international chocolate industry.
ΓΙΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΕΔΩ