We all love chocolate! The average American citizen consumes over 11 pounds of chocolate each year. However, there are some major downsides to our favourite sweet treats.

Many people buy chocolate without thinking about where it came from or who made it. This is a massive problem, since an array of large corporations have been accused of using child slavery and disgracefully low paid labour to give us our chocolate fix.

A lawsuit was filed  last september against a list of companies including Nestle, Mars, and Hershey, indicating that the companies were deceiveing their consumers in regards to funding the child slave labor trade in West Africa.

The concern has been rifefor the past 15 years in the chocolate industry . Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate is mostly grown in West Africa, with the two biggest producers being the Ivory Coast and Ghana. They account for almost 60 percent of the global cocoa supply.

The Reliance on West Africa for Cocoa Supply

There are many companies in the chocolate industry who rely exclusively on West Africa for their cocoa supply – most of the cocoa is produced on small farms by farmers suffering from severe poverty.

These extremes often result in child labor. Back in 2001, the chocolate industry pledged to end the practices in Ivory Coast and Ghana by 2005, but this deadline has repeatedly been pushed back. Now, the hope is to fully eliminate it by 2020.

To realize why this is so important, look beyond the money and beyond the chocolate. You need to become aware of what’s happening to the poor children who are forced into terrible working conditions.

Ranging from the ages of 11-16, and sometimes a lot younger, the conditions of these child slaves prove grim, with children trapped in isolated farms where they work for 80 to 100 hours every single week.
The children are often beaten with belts, canes and fists according to the accounts of freed children who spoke on the matter in the film Slavery: A Global Investigation.

“The beatings were a part of my life,” explained freed slave Aly Diabate. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”

Want to avoid supporting child slavery?

Steer clear of these six chocolate companies:

1. Hershey

2. Mars

3. Nestle

4. ADM Cocoa

5. Godiva

6. Kraft
 

“At the moment, no major chocolate company can guarantee their cocoa supply is not tainted by child labor,” explains Elizabeth Jardim, director of consumer advocacy at Green America, a non-profit that promotes ethical consumerism. “However, most have launched sustainability programs that attempt to address child labor in a variety of ways, largely thanks to consumer pressure.”

Despite the constant flow of news on the subject, the number of children working in the cocoa industry continues to rise – in total it has increased by 51 percent from 2009 to 2014.

One freed boy explained:

They enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh,

Check out this list of more socially conscious companies who have made it a priority to steer clear of profiting off the suffering of child labor:

Socially Conscious Companies

Green and Black’s

The Endangered Species Chocolate Company

Gardners Candie

Rapunzel Pure Organics

Cloud Nine

Giddy Yoyo

Chocosol

Clif Bar

Koppers Chocolate

L.A. Burdick Chocolates

Denman Island Chocolate

Montezuma’s Chocolates

Newman’s Own Organics

Kailua Candy Company

Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company

Source: http://www.organicandhealthy.org/

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We all love chocolate! The average American citizen consumes over 11 pounds of chocolate each year. However, there are some major downsides to our favourite sweet treats. Many people buy chocolate without thinking about where it came from or who made it. This is a massive problem, since an array...