Chocolate Slavery

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by clacek09
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
World Culture

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Chocolate Slavery

What is it?In Africa, mainly Gahna and Ivory Coast, children are being used for labor on chocolate plantations. These kids use chainsaws and machetes to get the cocoa beans. Not only do they have to carry the beans in a bag that are typically 100 pounds, but children are exposed to harmful chemicals and pestisides. Lucky slaves live on corn paste and bananas for their meals on some plantations.The unlucky ones are whipped, beaten and broken.

Chocolate Slavery

Who is it?Thousands to millions of children through the common ages 12-16 are found on these slave plantations.

Why is it happening?Many of the unfortunate children are sold into slavery or child labor by their own family, even though the kids may never see their family again. These families are poor and earn the little money their children make at the plantations. Kids can also end up on the merciless plantations by being kidnapped, lied, or bribed into working.

Why does it continue?Some of top chocolate producers such as Hershey and Nestle continue to buy the slave chocolate because they are making money off of it. Many people have no idea who collected the cocoa beans for their delicious chocolate bar so the companies continue to buy the cocoa beans from these plantations that produce about 70% of the world's chocolate. The companies blame the farmers, they argued that what they’re paid for cocoa is too little for them to pay adult wages, so instead they hire cheap children. Here is a video of a grown man that farms cocoa beans, yet this is his first time ever eating the chocolate. Here is video from CNN of a farmer eating chocolate for the first time in his life.

Many people wonder why the child labor on these plantations continue. The United States is trying to stop these plantations but it is a very long process. In 2001, a few members of U.S. Congress proposed a federal system to certify and label chocolate products as slave free: right on the wrapper, this proposal, the Harkin-Engel Accord, passed the House of Representatives. When big chocolate manufacturing like Hershey, Mars, Nestle and agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland threw their money into a massive lobbying effort, the Senate did not pass it.

Will it end?The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour started a project titled "Tackling child labour through education" (TACKLE). Along with the European Commission with the hope of eliminating child labour in 12 countries across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific group of states.


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