Child slavery in the chocolate industry

Child slavery in the chocolate industry

Abidjan : Ivory Coast | May 13, 2011 at 10:12 PM PDT
Views: Pending
The Dark Side of Chocolate 1/4 (sub español)

Many people love chocolates. I, for one, am a huge fan of it but a documentary film that I watched last night made me think that there are many injustices behind my favorite dessert.

The four-part YouTube video titled The Dark Side of Chocolate (total running time: 45 minutes) opened my eyes that forced child labor exists in Ivory Coast where almost half of the world's cocoa is produced.

An incredible undercover investigation was carried out by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romano who started their journey in Cologne, Germany. They interviewed famous chocolate manufacturers such as Archer Daniels Midland Mars, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Hershey’s, Nestlé, Saf-Cacao and others.

None of these companies are fully aware of the child slavery that haunts the industry.

They continued their journey to Western Africa. They found out that children from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria are smuggled in bus stations and taken to Ivory Coast by motorcycle-borne men and women.

Although informants said these children age not less than 11, it is evident that many of them are younger. It was also mentioned that many of the children are forced to work without being paid. They were taken to the world's largest cocoa producer without their parents’ knowledge.

Smugglers are paid at a starting price of 250 Euros ($353) per child.

The European investigators had to use hidden cameras to document their findings because of the risky nature of their purpose in going there. One earlier investigator who did the same was reported to have lost and was not found since.

They interviewed the chocolate bigwigs but seem to deny the fact that child slavery exists.

International efforts through legislation have been poorly enforced.

I hope that this documentary will serve to open our eyes about the sad human rights violation that is going on when we eat or drink our favorite chocolate and what we can do to stop it.

Watch the attached video. The subsequent parts can be viewed in the YouTube site.

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A documentary showing the injustices going on in the chocolate industry.
Gino C. Matibag is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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