In an excellent deep-dive read by Fortune, they reported recently about a BBC documentary filmmakers recently interviewed young boys in Côte d'Ivoire who said they’d been beaten and forced to work long hours without pay. When one was asked what he thought about people in other areas of the world enjoying the chocolate he harvested, he responded: “They are enjoying something that I suffered to make. They are eating my flesh.”
Fortune writes: “For a decade and a half, the big chocolate makers have promised to end child labor in their industry — and have spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort. But as of the latest estimate, 2.1 million West African children still do the dangerous and physically taxing work of harvesting cocoa. What will it take to fix the problem?”
It's likely you're among the millions of Americans who consume nearly 3 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or over 11 pounds per person. And it's likely you don't want to continue supporting an industry that takes advantage of children. You don't have to give up chocolate completely, but there is one concrete thing you can do to end child labor in places like Côte d'Ivoire, where much of multi-national corporations source their cacao and where child-labor is prevalent: buy only fair trade chocolate.
Today, you can commit to ending child-abuse and -trafficking by directing your purchasing dollars to ethically sourced goods. Ensure the chocolate you eat and the cocoa gifts you give to loved ones show the same deep concern for the people along the supply chain. Collective action will help pressure the industry to make necessary changes, so always choose fair trade products and slave-free chocolate.
Check out this quick video from Equal Exchange that shows the difference between conventional chocolate and fair trade chocolate.
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