Did you know that hundreds of children are sold and sent to the Ivory Coast to be forced into slavery on cocoa farms? These children who work there in hazardous conditions have never tasted chocolate and if they try to leave they are either beaten or killed. Many chocolate manufacturers in the US are of view that since they don’t own the farms, they are not responsible for the working conditions over there. The Harken-Engel Protocol forced the chocolate industry to takes voluntary steps in ending slavery on cocoa farms, but little seems to have changed.
Since the production of chocolate is costing lives, what are chocolate lovers to do? The good news is that several fair trade companies are selling ethical chocolates out there. Consumers don’t have to lose taste in their favorite treat anymore. Fair trade companies have their issues and even though they account for merely 1% of the 60 billion dollar chocolate market, conscious purchase by consumers might put an end to child slavery.
Wouldn’t it help to confirm that your chocolate or cocoa product does not come from the Ivory Coast? The concept of ethical consumption is gaining popularity and consumers are demanding more transparency in how their favorite chocolate is being made. By following ‘chocolate ethics’ we don’t need to shun chocolate companies or feel guilty about our chocolate cravings. It is about making an ethical and responsible purchase to help make a difference.