Your Chocolate Is Made By A Slave Child
Next time you bite into a chocolate bar, take a break and consider this fact – "It might be made by a slave child." Although, this may not be true about every chocolate in the world, it is true for most of the chocolates sold every day. UNESCO says that about half a million children work to produce 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa. As a result, the chocolate bar in your hand could have been made with cocoa grown by any of the hundreds of thousands of children engaged in some of the worst forms of child labor, particularly on the cocoa farms across Ivory Coast.
1) The CNN Digs Deep
During its investigation into the cocoa fields behind the billion-dollar chocolate industry, the news network found out that the industry was rife with child labor, trafficking, and slavery. What is the most disheartening is the fact that the child slavery is connected through labyrinthine routes to some of the best brands of chocolate in the world.
2) Nothing Was Done
When similar reports surfaced way back in 2001, the US lawmakers moved to put pressure on the industry to change the fate of these poor children. At that time, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said, “We felt like the public ought to know about it, and we ought to take some action to try to stop it.” He also said, “How many people in America know that all this chocolate they are eating – candies and all of those wonderful chocolates – is being produced by terrible child labor?” However, despite intense pressure from the lawmakers, because of severe lobbying done by the cocoa industry, the law could not be pushed through. Instead, a voluntary protocol was signed by the industry leaders, which sought to stop child labor “as a matter of urgency.” Needless to say, not much “voluntary action” has actually taken place since then.
3) Too Little, Too Late
Tulane University carried out a study of the cocoa sector recently, which found that the chocolate industry giants had actually saved their backside with the so-called “voluntary protocol” and no significant efforts were made to stop child labor. In fact, the study claimed, just 3% of the Ivory Coast’s farmers were reached by the industry in its “International Cocoa Initiative.”
4) The Inhuman Face Of Chocolate
Children employed to hack cocoa pods and reap cocoa beans for the planters are just like children in America. They want to read and write. They want to play and go to school. They want good clothes to wear and good books to read. But all they get is a little food, some torn clothes on their back, and an occasional tip. These modern child slaves are often pushed by strangers into this business, after they are trafficked from their area.
CNN Segment clip:
There are people overly obsessed with whether chocolate is really healthy but more concern is required today for these little kids, who are spending their precious childhoods battling a hard life on cocoa farms. It may not be too late for the chocolate industry to take action against child slavery in cocoa farming. However, till that happens, all you will get is empty promises and chocolates made by a slave child.
To learn more about child labor in the chocolate industry, visit CNN's Freedom Project blog.
Image Courtesy: current.com
Video Courtesy: youtube.com
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