Yesterday I outlined some terrible facts about modern-day slavery (People shouldn’t be bought and sold). But what can we practically do?
When I was at school, we were taught about how slavery was abolished in Britain and the USA. This was obviously a good thing.
It came as a shock to find out, some years ago now, that there are more slaves in the world than ever before.
Regular readers will know that one of my ’causes’ is ethical chocolate – chocolate that is grown by free farmers who are paid a fair wage, and not by trafficked children working more or less as slaves. (For background, see Ethical chocolate update.)
So it was with great delight that I received a weighty package in the mail recently and discovered a story of dark criminality and desperate legal actions.
There has been a long campaign for chocolate companies to only source their cocoa from farms that don’t use trafficked child labour, and who pay the workers a fair wage. And progress has been slow.
I have previously reported how I have joined many others in writing to chocolate companies here in Australia asking them to adopt Fairtrade or other certification that guarantees ethical practices.
So it is always good to celebrate encouraging news.
I have previously reported on the ethical dilemmas posed by eating chocolate, due to the trafficking and exploitation of children in growing cocoa in West Africa (see My pleasure, their misery? and Easter eggs and slavery), and on the responses to my letters to chocolate manufacturers (see Fair Trade chocolate – report 1).
I have received some more replies, and have researched some more information, all of which is very revealing.
Easter’s coming soon, and if you live in the west as I do, you’ll probably be eating your share of easter eggs. But what if the eggs came from cocoa grown using child labour, that is effectively slave labour?
Back in November I reported on exploitation in the world cocoa trade in My pleasure, their misery?. At that time I wrote about this to two prominent chocolate manufacturers.
I subsequently reported (Fair Trade chocolate – report 2) that I had received a reply from Cadbury indicating their ongoing support for Fair Trade products. I think they could do more, but it is encouraging that they have come this far.
Now, more than a month after I wrote to Darrell Lea, I still have not received a reply. Of course, Christmas is probably their busiest period, so I may hear from them in January. We shall see.
Anyone want to join in writing to Darrell Lea, and also to Nestle, Lindt or others?
Photo courtesy of World Vision.
A couple of weeks ago, I outlined some facts about exploitation in the growing of cocoa for chocolate (see My pleasure, their misery?) and at the same time wrote to two prominent chocolate manufacturers expressing my concerns and asking them to make more concerted moves to only source cocoa from growers who were paid a fair wage and were not exploiting children.
I have had one answer back.