By: Kaylin Fussell
The Truth about "Brown Gold"
Chocolate is the symbol of love and happiness. Take for example, the chocolate you give to your loved one on Valentine's Day. It was probably made by Hershey's or Nestle. Both are shipped in the United States, although they were not made in the United States. Where were they made? All the way across in the world, in West Africa. In fact, 70% of the world's chocolate comes from West Africa, mainly from Cote D'Ivoire which exports half of the world's cocoa beans. You might be asking yourself: How could buying and eating chocolate be such a bad thing? The truth is: the chocolate that you just gave your loved one was made by a child in Afrcia anywhere from the age of five to eighteen. This child has been exposed to many pesticides while picking cocoa beans, and many dangerous machines whie working in a factory. These children who should be in school live in inhumane conditions while harvesting these precious beans; many being beaten and sexually abused while being locked up at night to prevent escape.
International Cocoa Initiative: Tackling Child Labour on Cocoa Growing (Introduction)
The International Cocoa Inititiative (ICI) is an organization to help ban and prevent human slave labour on cocoa farms in West Africa for adults and children. Over 15,000 children alone are working on cocoa farms in very dangerous and unsafe conditions. One ex-slave said, "18 children were locked into a 24 X 20 foot room, sleeping on a wooden plank. A small hole was just big enough to let in some air, but they were forced to urinate in a can." Many children are too afraid to escape, as they have seen other been brutally beaten. The ICI is working on a project called: "ICI Strategy 2011-2015" collecting as much information as they possibly can about the slave labour of chocolate in West Africa. Many people in West Africa consider children working on cocoa farms as a natural way of life. The ICI has identifies many of the underlaying causes of child labour as a combination as poverty, ignorance, and a lack of social protection policies, as well as exploitation. The ICI works in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire to help bring attention to child labour and to help governments develop the capacity to maintain their commitment of a safe environment for children. The ICI plans to work on this issue until it is solved.