A Taste of Slavery

Companies Are Using Cacao Beans Harvested By Child Slaves.

Child Slaves in West Africa Are in Danger!

Fiona F.

Children in West Africa are being used as child slaves to harvest Cacao Beans that make chocolate. Because of the high demand for chocolate all around the world, many Cacao farm owners have to use child slaves to continue to support their farms and themselves. Most of the chocolate we eat comes from large farms in West Africa. Chocolate is made from Cocoa, which comes from a Cacao bean. The Cacao Bean is farmed primarily in Cote d'Ivoire (also know as the Ivory Coast.) Chocolate has become very popular and consumers want to buy cheap chocolate. So, many farms use child labour to keep their prices low. Some families even use their own kids. The children on the working farms are performing multiple dangerous tasks such as climbing tall trees, carrying huge bags full of beans, using lethal tools, and working long periods of time without schooling, food, water, or rest. Lots of the children get scars, bruises, and cuts after all of their challenging work. Also, if the children do anything wrong, they are brutally beaten. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are about 59 million African children who are included in these dangerous tasks. All of these children work tirelessly all day, and most of them have never even eaten a bite of chocolate. Almost all of the farm owners would prefer not to have to use children as workers, but buyers want to purchase things with as little money as possible.

How Cacao Beans Are Prepared

First taste of chocolate in Ivory Coast

Life of a Child Slave

The children who work all day in places like Cote d'Ivoire, may not get enough food, water, or other resources all day and the children could be dehydrated by the end of the day. When they finally get the water, it is usually contaminated. They also have poor health care coverage, if they have any at all. Additionally, the children don’t get the best food options due to the lack of money on the farms. Their food could be expired, dirty, stale, or cold. Then, after a long day of hard work, the children who live on the farms go to small, grubby cabins that they have to share with multiple other children. The child workers also don’t get enough schooling. Without schooling and the knowledge of the world around them, they have little to no chance of ever getting off of the farms. Many kids continue working as adults. If people were willing to pay a little more money to buy chocolate, these kids might get more of the resources they need to have a chance at a better life.

The Difficulties of Children Working For Cacao in West Africa

International Cocoa Initiative: Tackling Child Labour on Cocoa Growing (Introduction)

Map of Africa with Cote d'Ivoire

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The Solution is Simple: Everyone Work Together

If we all work together, we can stop this problem once and for all.

One example of people working successfully together, is the sueing of the huge chocolate company, Nestlé. After being sued, Nestlé took action. Nestlé began to identify where many of the child slaves were born and how old they are. Since then, 312 child workers and child slaves have been identified by Nestlé. The intricacy of this problem is big, but Nestlé is working very hard to fix it. This was all possible thanks to the work of many people who came together to change something for the better.

Solution Makers

People have protested, petitioned, and even sued huge companies. Three of these solution makers are Terry Collingsworth, the International Labour Organization, and the International Labor Rights Forum. Terry Collingsworth is a human rights lawyer who works against huge companies to help people all around the world. Collingsworth worked to help two people who were found in the Ivory Coast after being trafficked when they were kids. In 1988, Collingsworth also became the general counsel of the ILRF. The ILRF is a non-profit organization with the goal to keep all workers safe. Thanks to the ILRF, lots of people now understand what is happening to workers all around the world. Another organization with the same idea is called the ILO. The ILO is an organization that works to create peace around the world. The National Action Plans are multiple plans that the ILO made to protect child slaves in West Africa and stop the worst forms of child labor. All of these people and organizations are using their time, experience, and connections to help everyone they can.

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ILO Flag

The ILO is an organization that works to create peace around the world. ILO stands for International Labour Organization.

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What Can You Do?

Child labour and human trafficking are both big issues all around the world and we can do simple things to help make a big difference. Nobody is saying that we should just give up chocolate, because let’s be honest, none of us could do that. So if you want to make a difference, try to research the chocolate companies that produce the chocolate you eat. And, if you find that they do use child slaves, then try to find another company that doesn’t. There is a great website that helps you find chocolate companies that are not involved with cacao farms that are trafficking children. You can also find more information on the issue. No one is blaming this problem on one person. It took a lot of people to make this industry the way it is. But, everyone who is fortunate enough to have a roof over their head, like you and me, can make a difference.

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This map shows the Trafficking in Persons Report made by the Department of State, in 2011. The key and map show the different tiers of different locations. The levels of the tiers are based on the locations' compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Acts. Tier 1 means that you are in complete agreement with the TVPA, whereas Tier 3 is when the governments of the place don't agree with the TVPA. If you look closely at the map, you will see that Cote d'Ivoire is grey and unknown, this is because many of the cacao farms don't want people to expose their trafficking, so they do everything in their power to keep people away from their plantations. As you can see, there are many places around the world, including Africa, that do not agree with the TVPA. Lots of workers are in danger. If we all work together, we can stop this problem.

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Works Cited

"Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry." Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

"Child Labour in Cocoa." ICI Cocoa. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Clarke, Joe Sandler. "Child Labour on Nestlé Farms: Chocolate Giant's Problems Continue." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 Sept. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

"Terry Collingsworth: The Globe-trotting Human Rights Lawyer Taking on Nestlé and ExxonMobil." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 Sept. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

"ILO." Child Labour in Africa (Africa). Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

"International Labor Rights Forum." Cocoa. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

"Ethical Chocolate Companies." Slave Free Chocolate. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

"Tier Placements." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

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