топик Cocoa Fields

Who is paying the price for our chocolate addiction?

Chocolate is a billion dollar industry . Approximately 75% of the world’s cocoa beans are grown in West Africa. Many of the people who work in cocoa fields are children. Some are the children of adult slaves . Instead of going to school, they help their parents in the fields. Other child slaves are sold for a few dollars by their own family members. Their slave owners promise to send money home, but this rarely happens. When the children try to run away, they are beaten . Many work 12 hour days. Some child slaves apply pesticides without masks or gloves.

In 2001, a Cocoa Protocol was established. This was a US government initiative to end child labor in the cocoa industry. On the tenth anniversary, investigators said hundreds of thousands of children were still working illegally in cocoa fields. Many chocolate companies argue that it’s difficult to prevent child labor because cocoa fields are so remote . Journalists disagree. They say it is easy to find child slaves in cocoa fields. The difficult part is giving up chocolate.

Who is to blame for child trafficking in the chocolate industry? Consumers could boycott chocolate companies like Hershey’s or Nestlé. In 2012, The International Labor Rights Forum threatened to run an ad about how Hershey’s turns a blind eye to child labor. Hershey’s acted quickly and made promises to buy fair trade cocoa. Will it live up to its promise to prevent child labor this time? In 2011, a spokesperson for Nestlé told journalists that preventing rural African children from working is impossible. He said that as long as these kids have access to school, it is okay that their parents expect help out in the fields. Do you agree with this statement? How many of these children have ever tasted chocolate?

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