Excerpt from Huffington Post:
“As Halloween approaches [is here], many of us will be purchasing more than our usual share of chocolate. And while most of us probably make our purchasing decisions based on cost or preference, there is another factor to consider: most mainstream American chocolate companies make chocolate from cocoa sourced in the Ivory Coast, and there is an overwhelming amount of research that indicates that children are working in forced-labor conditions in this region.
The picture below shows a young child gathering pods to harvest cocoa beans. There are hundreds of thousands of children in West Africa who do this back-breaking work. Young children. Children who should be attending school and having a childhood. And they are working for most of the mainstream chocolate providers in the USA. A report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast estimated that there were more than 200,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. Some of them have been taken from their families, or sold as servants. CNN reports that chocolate companies claim it is too difficult to track because the farms are so remote. “They say it makes it extremely hard to end child labor and trafficking. They say it makes it hard to find trafficking victims.” And yet, when CNN sent four journalists out to investigate, they found trafficked children on their first day on the field.…”