Saturday, July 26, 2008

Please Stop Buying Chocolate

I've taken a break from blogging, not really intentionally, just life has been busy.

Today however I heard a message from Steve Chalk on human trafficking and was moved to fire off a quick post.

The basic gist is that a lot of chocolate today comes from the Ivory Coast, Africa, and that the great majority of their chocolate is produced by child slaves. Yes, that's right, slaves.

Just type in "chocolate slavery" into Youtube and you'll see what I mean.

Here's a few vids to get you going:

The basic ethical rule is: if you don't know for sure that the chocolate you're buying is slave-free or fair-trade, simple don't buy it. What's more important, your chocolate fix or the blood of innocent children on your chocolate-smeared hands? For UK consumers, a list of slave-free chocolate can be found here.

For more info, go to Stop The Traffik's Chocolate Campaign.

UPDATE 3rd oct: After emailing Edinburgh's Coco chocolate store, they have confirmed that although their supplier of organic chocolate is not officially in the Fairtrade programme, they told me: "The company who supplies us and their parent company have a firm anti-slavery stance and also work with small co-operative farms to ensure a fair price for the cocoa.". Excellent, as this is one of Edinburgh's best choccy shops!


eddie said...

Perhaps the moral of the story is that you should't believe everything you hear on YouTube or even from Steve Chalk.

I don't want this to turn into a long comment, but I have extensive first-hand experience of life in the Ivorian cocoa belt and I have never seen first hand evidence of child slavery. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it is far from common and statements like "the great majority of their chocolate is produced by child slaves" are simply wrong.

Before you ask, I'm not an agent of the chocolate industry - far from it.

Alastair said...

Hi eddie,

thanks for your pushback on this issue. Can you substantiate your comments at all? I believe the stats for child slavery come from the United Nations. Are you saying they have got it wrong? Or have we misunderstood what the UN are saying?