Thursday, November 17, 2005

Child-Slavery and Chocolate

This may seem unimportant when compared to the renewed Patriot Act or the President's plummeting approval numbers, or any of a whole host of issues -and we'll get to those. But there are only two times a year when I eat chocolate (in ...ummm... significant quantities): Christmas and Valentine's Day. And here we are, starting chocolate season.

So, let's review. Slave traders sell boys ranging in age from 12-16 to farms in Cote d'Ivoire. They work in inhumane conditions across the country. Slave traders prey particularly on children who are alone or who are begging for food. And about 50% of the world's chocolate comes from Cote d'Ivoire. Suddenly, chocolate isn't tasting as wonderful anymore.

There's an excellent and well-documented explanation of the problem here: Chocolate and Slavery.

A question to ponder.... How can it even be that I know if my can of tuna is dolphin-free, but I can't find out if my chocolate bar is slavery-free?

A few suggestions, if this issue captivates you:
  1. Stop buying chocolate from the major corporations and substitute Fair Trade chocolate.
  2. In 2001, the chocolate-producing companies promised to self-regulate. So write to them and encourage them to actually DO it.
  3. Spread the word to your family and friends.

Some sources for fair-trade chocolate if you just have to have it -which could happen in my little world:

And finally, to improve the situation of the children already trapped in this life, you might want to check out what's happening here: Free the Children.

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