Children and Chocolate

I As followers of Christ, living the Alternative Lifestyle, we must be concerned when people who are created in the image of God with value and worth are used and abused.

 got an email today from Stop the Traffik. Apparently the chocolate industry has missed a BIG deadline, and the Stop the Traffik press release can explain it better than I can anyway. So here it is. Read it and weep (I hope). And then ask yourself whether the extra couple of bucks for that fair-trade candy bar might be worth the clear conscience. 

Luke

 

On July 1st, people all across our town will be going out of their way to buy more chocolate—a chocoholic’s dream, but it will be fairly-traded chocolate. This is the best way and the only way to eat your chocolate slave free.

July 1st is a very important day around the world.

It’s the day when the chocolate industry promised to make sure that no children were being used as slaves on cocoa farms.

It’s the day when we could eat a bar of our favourite chocolate such as a Mars, Kit Kat or Dairy Milk knowing that no child has been used in the harvesting of the cocoa beans that went to make the chocolate we love to eat.

Sadly there will be no celebrations on July 1st.

Industry has failed to keep its original promises.

Today, children as young as 12 are still being used as slaves on cocoa plantations.

Here are the words of one child after being rescued from a farm. “I will tell you how I lost my arm. I tried to escape, but I could not. They caught me and tied me to a papaya tree and they beat me and broke my arm. I used to dream horrible dreams that they were beating me and about many other things: the hard work, my family … I still have these dreams today”.

Although the majority of farmers would not treat children in this way, there are some who do, and there are an estimated 12,000 children trafficked onto cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast into a life of slavery.

In our community, thousands of people are buying chocolate without knowing that these children are suffering for our sweet tooth to make fat profits for an industry that hasn’t delivered on its promises.In 2001 they said they would certify that farms were slave free. Now they are saying that they are gathering data on some of the areas where cocoa is harvested.

This is not what they promised.

This is not good enough after 7 years of waiting for the freedom, safety and protection of these children.

We have to choose which chocolate bar to buy, at little cost to us when our chocolate is costing some children their lives.

STOP THE TRAFFIK

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~ by lukewil86 on July 3, 2008.

3 Responses to “Children and Chocolate”

  1. Hmm…very interesting. I don’t see anywhere that it says how one can know if you’re getting a child-slave-free chocolate bar or not, though–was that in another part of the e-mail? ‘Cause like, we just bought a chocolate bar today, but I have no clue if it was good or not…

  2. If you visit Stop the Traffik, they have a list of “fair-trade” chocolate that you can buy – apparently Target sells some.

  3. My wife and I found out about this earlier this summer. She was making me a chocolate cake one night and we got to wondering about the history of chocolate. I grabbed the laptop and looked it up on wikipedia. When we read about the slave trade and child labor practices we were heartbroken. The cake very nearly didn’t get eaten.

    The sad thing is that fair trade doesn’t really fix the problem either. When companies make fair trade agreements, they are agreeing to pay more than “market value” for the product, regardless of quality, and usually for an extended number of years. It’s great for that particular farmer, but, it creates a problem elsewhere in the industry. The market will balance itself, and with enough fair trade coco being produced, the free market value will decrease, meaning more child labor/slavery because the farmers can’t afford to hire help.

    Most of the problems are located in the Ivory Coast and surrounding regions of western Africa. The real solution is for governmental reform. Their government is corrupt and profits largely from the coco industry, while keeping the citizens in poverty. Pray for that country.

    The immediate solution that has worked for our consciences is to buy only organic coco. 99% of this product comes from central and south america where there is little incidence of child labor. It’s not necessarily fair trade, but it is a quality product that is worth more. The farmers make more for it, because it’s a quality product. That I can live with.

    As with fair trade, it costs more than plain old regular coco, but we think it’s the right thing to do.

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