The Dark Side Of Chocolate
Think About How Your Favorite Chocolate Is Being Made
Hershey's Child Labor
One of the worlds largest chocolate makers are knowingly using child labor, and they are Hershey's. Hershey gets most of it's chocolate from West Africa, where kids are forced to work to get the cocoa beans. First, in 2005 Hershey asked to have the label "slave free" on their chocolate bars. (And no slaves for their chocolate) It was approved by the House of Representatives and on it's way to the Senate for the law to take place. But after that nothing really happened. Now that it has become evident that Hershey (and even Nestle and Mars) have no way of handling the issue. They push back the date of completing no child chocolate labor to 2008, then to 2020.
Why do you think Hershey's would do this kind of business? Buying cocoa from places that have such abusive child labor enables Hershey to keep its costs down and its profits up. Why do you think it only costs $1 for a chocolate bar? If you have ever checked out at Walmart you have probably looked at the goodies on the side displays. The Cookies and Creme Hershey's is only 79 cents. Americans usually spend around $13 billion a year on chocolate, but most of them don't know that young boys are slaving away for the beans. In 2015 there are more child slaves than there were in 2001. There are now 1.4 million children carrying heavy sacks of cocoa beans.
Aly was 11 years old and was barely 4 feet tall when he was sold into slavery. He had a hard time carrying the heavy bags of cocoa beans. He was told by his master that his family would get $150 a year to help his family. But the only rewards were on the rare days when him or others didn't get beaten. He states that when they would drop a cocoa bean bag, they would beat them until they picked it up again. Aly worked in child labor for 4 years, but he is now a freed slave. Aly helps his parents by selling vegetables in a nearby market, but he still doesn't understand why he was a slave.
What Has Been Done, and What Can You Do?
As you can see, Hershey is knowingly using child labor for their products. They haven't put a stop to it yet either. They could ask again for their chocolate to be fair trade. They would have to make sure that it actually does happen instead of not dealing with it. It's not going happen right away, but it would be a working progress to a better business. Hershey's does use child labor to bring in more money, and changing this to Fair Trade probably won't bring in the same amount. Hershey's does have a lot of chocolate buyers though, and maybe people will buy more knowing that their chocolate is slave free. So...what can you do? Aly Diabate says that you can still buy the chocolate because the kids and adults that work to make chocolate won't have a job anymore when everyone stops buying it. You also don't want to go on a shopping spree just buying Hershey's chocolate. If you really want to help, get a group of people together and write letters to Hershey explaining that you want to have the chocolate fair trade instead. You can also wright about how your not going to buy that much chocolate and that your friends aren't either.
Once you know, you can't not know.
"Cocoa-nomics: Now Can Chocolate Companies Stamp out Slavery?" The CNN Freedom Project Ending ModernDay Slavery
"Hershey, Nestle and Mars Use Child Slaves To Make Your Chocolate." Spirit Science. N.p., 18 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
"Is There Child Slavery In Your Chocolate." Food Network. John Robbins, 1 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
"Stop Chocolate Slavery." Vision.edu. Knight Ridder Newspapers, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.