Forty percent of the world’s cocoa beans, the raw material in chocolate, come from small, scattered farms in this poor West African country.The hard work of clearing the fields and harvesting the fruit is done by children who were sold or tricked into slavery.
A child’s workday begins at six in the morning and ends in the evening.
Some children use chainsaws to clear the forests. Other children climb the cocoa trees bare foot to cut bean pods.
Holding a single large pod in one hand, each child strikes the pod with a machete and pokes it with the tip of the blade to expose the cocoa beans.
Every strike of the machete can slice a child’s flesh. The large, heavy, dangerous knives are the tools used by children on the cocoa farms.
Once they cut the bean pods from the trees, they are made to pack the pods into sacks weighing more than 100 pounds, and drag them through the forest.
Most of the children have scars on their hands, arms or shoulders from the machetes.
Yes! That’s the dark ingredient of chocolates which ethically and legally taints the sweetness.
Chocolate is not an essential commodity, so we as consumers can afford brands that practice ethical standards from the crop to the store.
Simply, put your money in buying only slave-free chocolates if your heart goes out for those innocent children.
How to do this?
Always check for the fair trade label
The certified “Fair Trade” label implies that the farmer was paid a fair price for his or her product, and in buying this chocolate, you as a consumer aren’t participating in exploitation.
Companies will not get this label if they aren’t using fair practices on their employees (such as low wages, dangerous conditions, or using child slaves).
Stick to buying American Chocolates
The best way is to stick to chocolate from Central and South America.
Organic chocolate almost exclusively grows in Central and South America, where slavery isn’t an issue. If the label doesn’t mention the location origin, then ‘organic’ should hopefully mean ethically sourced and farmed.