The dark underbelly of global chocolate production
April 13, 2022
Easter is almost here. It’s time to get your whānau and community together. And for many Easter leads to chocolate!
However, buyers beware because there’s a sinister side to chocolate. The majority of the global chocolate market, including big brands such as Cadbury, are produced by heavily exploiting children.
More than 50% of the world’s chocolate comes from Ivory Coast and Ghana. There are 1.48 million estimated child slaves working on cocoa farms in these two countries alone. All for us to eat chocolate. This number is relatively unchanged over the past decade despite claims of progress from the chocolate industry. A 2018-19 survey showed that among children living in agricultural households in these cocoa growing areas, 43 percent were engaged in hazardous child labour in cocoa production.
Trafficking children to trap them in this industry is all too common. Many of these children have no access to schooling and work long hours for very little or no pay at all. The work is gruelling and long. Very little protective gear is used resulting in awful injuries from wayward machetes.
Cadbury set up Cocoa Life in order to raise living standards and stop child labour in the region. A new documentary, Cadbury Exposed: Dispatches, on the UK’s Channel 4 shows they have never delivered on this promise as they continue to invest in a region that is rife with child trafficking, slavery and labour exploitation.
We need to hold companies like Cadbury to account by no longer buying their products and supporting these terrible practices. Companies should not be able to profit from child labour.
But this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your chocolate fix this Easter. There are many ethical chocolate products available that don’t participate in exploitation to make their products. By supporting these cocoa farmers, we’re supporting communities to transform. Look for products that are accredited by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).
Let’s enjoy chocolate this Easter by supporting ethically sourced chocolate that doesn’t leave a bitter taste in our mouths.
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