Halloween is right around the corner. And, although at $7.4 billion, Halloween sales are relatively flat, that’s still alot of candy and costumes. And chocolate.
As we’ve seen from other #GivingTuesday posts like Love146 and Tiny Hands International, slavery is flourishing today. Unfortunately, it’s also thriving in the production of chocolate. In a post called Chocolate: the industry’s hidden truth (and the easy stuff we can do to still enjoy it), the author Tsh shares that “The far majority of chocolate is in our stores because of forced child labor.”
My 11 year old daughter actually started researching this with me. It’s kind of ironic because she’s the age of the girls sold to the cocoa farms. Girls are typically 11-12; boys 12-14. Kind of changes the way we see trick-or-treaters.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to buy ethically produced, slave-free chocolate. Some of the simple ways are to look for the “Fair Trade” or “Rain Forest Alliance” labels. These systems aren’t perfect, especially because they are often expensive for farmers qualify for. But it’s a start.
Making our voice heard
Voting with our wallets is definitely a place to start. But we can do a lot more. Nonprofit organizations like STOP THE TRAFFIK have ways to tell the big manufacturers to stick with ethical practices. On their chocolate page, they say:
Since 2006 STOP THE TRAFFIK’s campaign message hasn’t changed. We want ingredients like violence and exploitation taken out of the chocolate.
And they’ve seen some change. They say top five manufacturers–Verkade, Swiss Noir, Cadbury, Nestlé and Mars–are now creating some chocolate bars certified as slave-free.
But that means the typical chocolate we get still isn’t.
Join the Thunderclap
One easy way to help raise awareness is to join STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Thunderclap. If they reach their Thunderclap goal by October 18, hundreds of us will simultaneously have a tweet, Facebook post, or Tumblr post posted encouraging Toblerone maker Mondelez asking when Toblerone will be traffik free.
October 18 happens to be Anti-Slavery Day.
You can learn more about the awful statistics about child slavery in the chocolate industry by watching the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate.
The BBC also did a series exposing traffiking. Here’s the first of that series:
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