Chocolate's Secret Ingredient...
Children being forced to work for someone leads to losing everything
Child slaves in West Africa lose so much by being forced to work for others. Being compelled to work for someone else at such a young age causes the child to lose their dignity and education. Being a slave is the child's entire existence. They work so hard and feel as if no one cares for them. Their dignity is gone once they step onto the cocoa farm. As for education, none. When farmers force them to work for them, their whole lives revolve around that. They don’t have time to go to school and learn to read and write. Child slaves work harder than any other child, but they don’t get anything back.
West Africa is where most children are enslaved.
Ghana is one of the countries in Africa where child slavery is most common.
In this map the orange represents the Ivory Coast and the green represents Ghana, two countries in Africa. These two countries are where child slavery is happening in the chocolate industry.
West Africa is where most children are enslaved.
Are there any advantages of being a slave in West Africa?
You would think there would be no positive parts of being forced to work for someone, and there are very few. They work very hard and the only positive aspect is it gives the children job skills and experience for their later life. As you can see, there aren't many advantages, and the children would be better off without being a slave. I wouldn't even call them advantages.
No one likes getting hurt
Child slaves get emotionally and physically hurt while being forced to work. There is a lot of danger involved with child slavery. Machines involved with the cocoa farms have a high risk for a child. They work very hard for long hours, and if the child does not work fast enough they get whipped and beaten up by the farmers. The farmers lie to the children and say it will get better and it will end soon, but it won't. Part of the emotional abuse is the child doesn't even get to eat their own chocolate. A child slave has said, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh,” because they put so much of themselves in the process of chocolate making. While people in other countries are enjoying a treat, children in West Africa are getting hurt by being forced to work for cocoa farmers.
Farmers and Cocoa Companies Have Control
Children working on a cocoa farm in West Africa make farmer's lives much easier instead of having adults. Some people don’t even realize that the child is a slave. Some relatives don’t understand the danger involved. For example, families have let their children go to cocoa farms and they never see them again. Before the child goes onto the cocoa farm the farmers tell them it’s a well paid job. This is not the case. The reason farmers don't use adults is because poor children in the countries, Burkina Faso and Mali get abducted and taken to Ghana and the Ivory Coast to be slaves. The farmers don’t have enough money to pay adults as employees on the cocoa farm, so they force kids to do it with no salary. This helps the farmers a lot because if they had employees, they would lose more than what they would gain. According to cocoa farmers, the more slaves they have, the better. As a result, child slaves only help farmers but the farmers treat them very poorly.
U.S. is trying to help
There are people who want to end child slavery and the U.S. is trying to help. Nestle is one of the biggest companies who use child slaves in West Africa. Former child slaves have gone to court against Nestle to stop child slavery. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to dismiss the case. The U.S. Department of Labor has offered $10 million to give to the cocoa farmers so they can hire real employees who will work for them instead of having child slaves. The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast want to help by enforcing their laws on child labor. More people than you would think have been trying to make a difference and, society is helping. There is hope.
This is all Chocolate that the children contributed to.
What will happen in the future?
The governments of West Africa are starting to realize how bad child slavery is and they are hoping to enforce the laws against it. Once they do, cocoa farmers will be able to hire real employees. The employees will most likely be adults. The children can have a childhood and go to school to get an education they deserve. It is possible for child slavery to end.
"Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry." Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
"Child Labour in Cocoa." ICI Cocoa. Web. 23 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. 23 Mar. 2016.
"Governments Look to End Child Labor in West African Cocoa Farming." VOA. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
"International Labor Rights Forum." Cocoa. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
"West Africa: U.S. Court Boosts Child Slave Labour Case." AllAfrica.com. 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.