Americans absolutely love chocolate. Only every Halloween, they spend over a billion dollars on chocolate, accounting for 10% of most chocolate company’s annual earnings. The average American citizen eats over 11 pounds of chocolate a year. So next time you 're going to buy your favourite dark or milk chocolate, use your money to send the strong message that child slavery is not acceptable by American consumers. Last September, a lawsuit was filed against eight companies – including Hershey, Mars, and Nestle – alleging that the companies were duping consumers into “unwittingly” supporting and funding the child slave labor trade in West Africa, home to two-thirds of the world’s cacao beans.
Worker ages range from 11-16 (and even sometimes younger). They live in remote farms, where they work 80 to 100 hours a week. The film Slavery: A Global Investigation reveals the shocking reality through interviews with freed children who speak for their daily torture.
“The beatings were a part of my life,” Aly Diabate, a freed slave, told reporters. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”
To avoid supporting children slavery, here are seven chocolate companies that benefit from child slave labor:
Legislation nearly passed in 2001 in which the FDA would implement “slave free” labeling on the packaging. However, before the legislation voted on, the chocolate industry – including Nestle, Hershey, and Mars – used its corporate money to stop it by “promising” to end child slavery in their businesses by 2005. This never achieved, the deadline has repeatedly been pushed back and the current goal is now at 2020. In addition, instead of a reduction of the children who are enslaved, the number of children working in the cocoa industry has increased by 51 percent from 2009 to 2014.
As one freed boy put it: “They enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh.”
Here is a list of more socially conscious companies who succeeded to avoid profiting off the suffering of child labor:
Green and Black’s
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
Denman Island Chocolate
Newman’s Own Organics
Kailua Candy Company
Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
Rapunzel Pure Organics
The Endangered Species Chocolate Company