Child slave labour and chocolate. sign now

Chocolate and slave labour.

Nearly half of the world's chocolate is produced from cocoa beans harvested from West Africa. A particularly large exporter is the Ivory Coast, also known as Cote dIvoire, which derives nearly 40\% of its export earnings from this crop and is considered the largest supplier of cocoa beans worldwide. Major corporations such as Hersheys, Nestle, and Mars buy from middle men, such as ADM and Cargill, who directly buy cocoa beans from largely impoverished West African farmers, each usually owning less than 12 acres of land. At this end of the supply chain, there is very little money being made on the farmer's part. According to the European Fair Trade association, these local cocoa farmers make only 5 pennies on every dollar spent on chocolate products. Knowing this, one could only wonder what these small farmers are able to pay their field workers. And thus the bitter truth is exposed. It is not uncommon to find young children, ages 9 and up, laboring under the cruelest of conditions. The vast majority of these children have been sold to the farmer by either their parents or by human traffickers in exchange for very small sums of money. They are routinely beaten, fed poorly and sometimes promised miniscule wages that rarely materialize. Without strength or precision, they are forced to wield adult-sized machetes , and spray pesticides without protection of any kind. They work sun up to sun down, 12 to 15 hours a day, often times being locked up at night in tiny huts to prevent their running away. It is staggering to know that there are more slaves now than there were during the days of the slave trade. However, unlike the 18th century these slaves are considered to be throw away products now and are easily replaced.

The link below is an excellent film made on slave labour in the world today.

It is unthinkable to imagine how slavery can exist in the world today let alone to think that our desire for chocolate and other luxury products fuels this terrible industry.
It is no longer acceptable that our newsagents and large stores stock these products. We are sigining this petition to make our voices heard. We will no support any store that purchases such goods.

Our message is this;

"We are a coalition of consumers. We are outraged by the continuing use of slave labour in the production of cocoa. Although the Harkin-Engel protocol to curb child slavery in West Africa was signed in 2001, milestones for 2005 and 2008 were completely missed. Child trafficking, slavery and forced child labour on West African cocoa farms is still rampant. As a supplier of these products can you please tell me what you are doing to implement what already should have happened.

We now only wish to purchase cocoa unrelated to forced, trafficked and/or slave child labour. Unfortunately legislation that would require chocolate to have a "No child slavery" label was never introduced. That would have made it simple for us the consumer. Also, too little progress has been made by the companies supporting the Harkin Engel Protocol for me to rely on the status quo of that initiative.

If you are going to tell me that efforts are currently underway to resolve the issue, please provide me with a specific game plan including a date so that we can measure success on our follow-up communications.

We find it unbelievable to grasp how as human beings you can be aware of such gross social injustices and outright cruelty to our fellow human being and not be moved to act. Children are being stolen, held against their will and tortured to provide YOU with the chocolate you sell.


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Patrica BlackBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
Tescoes & Sainsburys


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