For people who care about their food

Chocolate – the bitter truth

It’ s quite usual for people who care about their food to also care about its provenance. Where did it come from, who produced it, and by what methods?  Next time you are tucking into a delicious chocolate bar, spare a thought for the child slaves who may have been involved in producing it.

Most of the world’s cocoa production comes from the Ivory Coast, but at a high cost for many poor families. The cocoa producers often use child labour and even go as far as abducting children and trafficking them. Below are videos of a BBC Panorama investigation into child trafficking in the Ivory Coast to provide free or cheap labour for the cocoa industry.








Perhaps this investigation has shocked you and you’d like to do something to help these children. Anti-Slavery International has plenty of information and suggestions of what you can do to help on their “Take action” page.

Not all actions require money or donations – it could be as simple as writing an email to a major chocolate company to express your concern about forced labour and trafficking.  And to make it even easier for you to help, they have a sample letter which you can copy to add your voice to the campaign.

3 Responses to “Chocolate – the bitter truth”

  1. Man in Greasy Shirt

    Quite a good piece of investigative journalism. However, people should be aware that even in wealthy countries like Botswana and South Africa, the families subsistence farming in rural villages don’t have electricity or running water – nor is it important to them. A mobile phone and a solar charger would be more useful. Their priorities are food, access to water that is safe to drink, and affordable medical clinics.

    FairTrade should help to reduce the demand for child labour in the cocoa industry, but while Burkina Faso remains as poor as it is, there will always be an incentive for families to sell their children for some purpose or other.

    Without some kind of sponsorship, I think it is unlikely that the hero of this story will receive the education necessary to achieve his ambition to become a doctor. I hope he finds it.

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