Chocolate is one of the top gifts that one gives and receives for Valentines Day. Despite the fact that much attention has been give to Fair Trade and or Organic chocolate, the $60-90 Billion dollar chocolate industry is still mainly supplied by Child and Slave Laborers. And to top it off, the top chocolate companies, Hershey’s, Nestles, and Mars are doing very little if nothing about it…
- A class action lawsuit was filed against Hershey and two of its competitors, Mars and Nestle. The complaints, filed by three California residents, allege that the companies are guilty of false advertising for failing to disclose the use of child slavery on their packaging. Without it, the plaintiffs claim, the companies are deceiving consumers into “unwittingly” supporting the child slave labor trade. (Daily Beast)
- In another report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), commissioned by Nestlé, saw researchers visit 260 farms used by the company in Ivory Coast from September to December 2014. The researchers found 56 workers under the age of 18, of which 27 were under 15. (The Guardian)
- In Another Report by Tulane University, the use of child labor has increased in West Africa. Researchers counted 2.1 million child laborers working in cocoa production in both countries, an increase of 21 percent over five years. (Take Part)
- On 14 July 2005, three individuals from Mali and Global Exchange (a human rights organization) filed a class action lawsuit in California federal court against Nestlé, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill. The individuals alleged they had been trafficked from Mali as child slaves and forced to work harvesting and/or cultivating cocoa beans on farms in Côte d’Ivoire. (Source)
- Hershey Co should turn over records that could reveal the leading U.S. chocolate maker violated federal child trafficking laws by using cocoa from West Africa, according to a lawsuit filed by a public pension fund. The lawsuit by the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System, a Hershey shareholder, seeks documents which could determine if the candy maker knew its suppliers in Ghana and Ivory Coast used child labor. (Source)
I Just Gotta Eco Ya:
- Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast, supply more than 70% of the world’s cocoa
- Cocoa farmers earn less than $2 per day, an income below the poverty line.
- Over 2 Million Children are used in production of Cocoa.
- Child Labor is illegal in Africa
- Children are at risk due to the use of Machetes in cocoa production and exposure to numerous pesticides. Children work dawn to dusk with no access to education.
Every time we purchase a Snickers, M&M’s, Reeses Cup, Kit-Kats, Butterfingers and chocolate chip cooks, we are supporting child and slave labor. Appalling isn’t it. Worse off, even though we purchase Fair Trade, RainForest certified or organic chocolate, we still cannot be sure that they are not using slave labor.
The problem is that several years ago there was a big stir, committees set up, companies are looked into and then other issues come up and the focus goes away. We need to keep that focus going.
What can we do? The #1 thing we can do is Stop Purchasing the top 3 chocolate’s. #2) Send petitions in to Stop Child Slavery (listed below) #3) Stop Eating any type of chocolate (difficult, but it can be done) #4) Support companies that have made chocolate slave free. For a listing see: Slave Free Chocolate .
- Food Is Power
- International Labor Rights Organization
- Selva Vita sin Fronteras report on child labor in coffee and chocolate.
- Is There Child Slavery in Your Chocolate?“, includes a list of chocolate companies who are Child Labor Free.
- See the movie The Dark Side of Chocolate,
- The Human Cost of Chocolate
- Sum of Us- Petition to Whole Foods to stop stocking chocolate using Child Labor
- Anti-Slavery Petition: Send Petition to End Child Slavery in Cocoa Production