Easter’s coming soon, and if you live in the west as I do, you’ll probably be eating your share of easter eggs. But what if the eggs came from cocoa grown using child labour, that is effectively slave labour?
Chocolate and child trafficking
Did you know …. ?
- The chocolate confectionary business is worth about $70 billion worldwide.
- About 70%-80% of the world’s cocoa is grown in West Africa, with Cote d’Ivoire accounting for about half of this.
- The world’s cocoa crop is worth about $5 billion per year, and 40-50 million people depend on cocoa for their livelihood.
- Child labour is common in West Africa and according to this BBC report, 1.8 million children work in the production of cocoa. Some assist on poor family farms, but it is estimated that about 10,000-15,000 are illegally trafficked and forced to work as slaves on cocoa plantations, working under extremely harsh conditions (see Wikipedia, University of America, and Soul Economy.
- 10 years ago the biggest chocolate companies promised to get rid of child trafficking in the cocoa industry in West Africa. 10 years on, despite their promises, we only have a tiny amount of Traffik Free chocolate (Stop the Traffik).
- Chocolates with Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certification are ‘traffik-free’, so growers are paid a fair price.
Stop the Traffik this Easter
Stop the Traffik is a global movement of volunteers and non-Government organisations working together against trafficking and slavery around the world. You can find out more at the websites for the US and Australia.
A key part of their current campaign is focusing on chocolate Easter eggs. Most manufacturers still don’t have traffik-free certification. Traffik-free chocolates aren’t always easy to find, but Fairtrade has a list of traffik-free egg manufacturers, including an easter egg pack by Cadbury (one of the few major chocolate manufacturers that has some Fairtrade products in its range).
Let’s not sit on our hands
It would be good if these manufacturers could be supported, even if we don’t buy all our eggs from them.
And it would be good to write to some of the other manufacturers to tell them we want them to start to make a difference. Stop the Traffik particularly singles out Ferrero Rocher (I don’t know why). I have previously written to Cadbury (getting a good response) and major Aussie manufacturer Darrell Lea (no response), but I will now write to Darrell Lea again, plus Nestle, Lindt and Ferrero Rocher, and report back on any response.
Will you join me? It doesn’t take long to type out a few letters. And think of the child slaves who will benefit!
This article on Green Muze lists a numbers of issues and cool initiatives that are good to be aware of around Easter, though it is US-focused:
Eggcellent! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
[…] and exploitation of children in growing cocoa in West Africa (see My pleasure, their misery? and Easter eggs and slavery), and the responses to my letters to chocolate manufacturers (see Fair Trade chocolate – […]