October 25, 2010

Trick-or-Treat! - Buying Certain Halloween Candies Helps Exploit African Children

Halloween Candy and Child Slavery: Another Hidden Danger

Ivory Coast in West Africa is the world's largest producer of cocoa, the major ingredient in chocolate.  It's neighbor, Ghana, is also a major producer.  Cocoa producers in Ivory Coast especially are well-documented for exploiting adult and child labor in the industry.  Fortunately, the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana have made efforts to address forced or indentured child labor and trafficking - with more success in Ghana than Cote d’Ivoire.

Also, some chocolate producers such as Cadbury, Mars, Nestlé and Kraft have made efforts to comply with fair trade laws.  However, "Hershey, the largest U.S. chocolate company, has been singled out by fair-trade activists (Raising The Bar) who criticize its lack of transparency about where it sources its cocoa and its failure to shift to independent certification of its cocoa."

What Can You Do?

You can help educate the public and force chocolate producers to comply with international conventions on fair labor.  One way to do this is Reverse Trick-or-Treating.

"Imagine—you open the door on Halloween, and some pint-size Dracula (or is it Edward these days?) hands you a piece of chocolate. Amazing, right?

"Of course, there’s a catch. Or, not really a catch, but a serious side that will kill that sugar buzz: some of the cocoa used by major American chocolate companies could be a product of forced child labor.

"Reverse trick-or-treating was launched four years ago by the organization Global Exchange with the goal of pressuring the major chocolate producers in the United States—such as Hershey and Nestlé—to adhere to fair trade practices. Children who take part in the campaign hand out Fair Trade-certified chocolates, along with an information sheet about the problem."

Finally, here is a BBC article that provides startling insight into the effect of the cocoa industry in West Africa on African children:

No comments:

Archive for "Being Human"