As we get ready for Easter, a holiday celebrating Spring and our common humanity, take a stand against child labor and slavery by buying only fair trade chocolates.
The truth behind chocolate is all t often not-sweet. The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world’s cocoa. And yet, in 2001 the U.S. State Department reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and other African countries estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don’t own them.
Chocolate comes from cocoa, and the cocoa supply is controlled by a small number of companies worldwide that are allowed to function with limited accountability. Hershey’s and M&M/Mars alone control two-thirds of the $13 billion U.S. chocolate candy market. The result? An industry marred with child slavery, unsafe working conditions and a cycle of poverty with no end in sight for cocoa farmers. Chocolate companies are not held accountable for sourcing practices, and despite their knowledge about the travesties that occur on cocoa farms, they lack the will to change.
Consumers can hold chocolate companies accountable by choosing only Fair Trade Certified chocolate. It’s easy to do. Simply look for TransFair USA’s Fair Trade logo on the package. TransFair is the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S. Fair Trade Certified chocolate ensures that no forced or abusive child labor was used. If consumer demand for Fair Trade chocolate increases, perhaps chocolate companies will alter their practices. Thus, buying Fair Trade chocolate can put an end to the disastrous cycle of poverty and child endangerment.
Learn More and Where to Buy:
Fair Trade Certified