Slavery might be abolished in the United States, but many American chocolate manufacturers still benefit from the use of African child slave labor. This type of servitude runs rampant on Ivory Coast and it’s saving these companies millions of dollars every year.
Children as young as 11 (in rare cases, even younger) are being sold into this nasty lifestyle and are exploited for their hard work, solely for the plentiful financial gain.
Aly Diabate, a freed slave from the Ivory Coast, told IHS Child Slave Labor reporters just how terrible his life was like while in the chocolate slave labor trade.
“The beatings were a part of my life. 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.”
This backbreaking schedule injures thousands of children each year. There is total disregard for the young lives at risk, all for a bag of cocoa beans!
Despite the countless reports and investigations into the child slave labor exploitation by chocolate manufacturers, little has changed. These enormous corporations still use beans harvested and processed by the African child slave population:
– Hershey (plans to be Fair Trade Certified by 2020)
– ADM Cocoa
– Fowler’s Chocolate
A complaint filed against Hershey, Mars, Nestle and five other major manufacturers explained why ignoring this type of exploitation is not acceptable, or an option to begin with.
“America’s largest and most profitable food conglomerates should not tolerate child labor, much less child slave labor, anywhere in their supply chains.
These companies should not turn a blind eye to known human rights abuses… especially when the companies consistently and affirmatively represent that they act in a socially and ethically responsible manner.”
But there is some good news in the midst of all the heartbreak and turmoil. The companies listed below have made it their mission to steer clear of slave labor no matter what – even if that means driving up their production costs:
– Clif Bar
– Green and Black’s
– Koppers Chocolate
– L.A. Burdick Chocolates
– Denman Island Chocolate
– Gardners Candie
– Montezuma’s Chocolates
– Newman’s Own Organics
– Kailua Candy Company
– Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
– Rapunzel Pure Organics
– The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
– Cloud Nine
So, this Halloween take a look at your own children and imagine them working with dangerous materials and tools day-in and day out, with no other options or prospects.
Hopefully you’ll opt for a more responsible chocolate product this year and for years to come.
See heartbreaking footage of child chocolate laborers here!