When you think of chocolate, you probably think of candy-bars, cakes, hot cocoa, or any excuse to indulge it. Whether you’re biting into a fudge brownie, sipping a taste of hot cocoa, or savoring the flavor of fondue, you were probably blissfully unaware of your menial participation in child slavery – and ostensibly – what you can do to stop it.
But what if there was a way to enjoy your favorite chocolate treats while helping to quell child slavery?
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are currently 9 million child slaves worldwide. Many of these children are often forced into a systematic way of life as slaves while harvesting a product they will never taste.
It is not uncommon for children to be sold into slave labor – usually for an average of $250 USD.
According to a study conducted by Tulane University, between 2009 and 2014, the number of children subjected to hazardous work increased by 46% in West Africa – where more than 70% of the world’s cocoa originates from.
Even with the demand for chocolate increasing – most notably in China and India – cocoa farmers’ wages have remained stagnant. With consistently low wages, farmers are unable to pay for adult labor, forcing children to work – which deprives them of an education – and of a normal adolescence.
But with increasing international pressure and notoriety, now, there’s a way you can not only assist with quelling child-slavery, but you also enjoy life’s most edible passions in the process. In other words, you now have options…
Ethically grown chocolate organizations have steadily emerged as the equalizer to exploited child labor. While some of these organizations have been around for a few years, only with the vast notoriety of child labor reporting have these companies started to garner more attention.
With slavefreechocolate.org, and iHerb, you can choose from a plethora of companies to purchase chocolate that’s ethically grown – and promises fair treatment to its farmers and laborers.
“Since we are in the program the cocoa farm has produced more: we had 1.2 tons in 2011-2012, and then 1.8 tons in 2013-2014. In this way the UTZ program allowed me to build my house! And it also means we can afford gas for cooking”, said Nick Kouassi N’Guessan, Ivory Coast, a local farmer.
Fair Trade Federation, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair for Life are some of the labels to look for on ethically grown chocolate.
By purchasing ethically grown chocolate, you can now make the transformation from perpetuating child-slavery to assisting with stopping it.
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