Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa

Côte d’Ivoire (or the Ivory Coast) is the largest producer of cocoa, with over 800,000 small-scale farmers and representing over 40 percent of the world’s supply.  Supplying such companies as Hershey’s, Nestles, ADM as well as many other multi-national companies.

Now this wouldn’t really be a bad thing…except that the Ivory Coast is well documented for using slave labor.  Slaves work long hours for no money, little food, and are treated like disposable machines.

No, strike that.  Machines are actually treated better; if they are damaged they are fixed.

If a slave is hurt or maimed by a machete, they’re simply discarded and replaced because it’s less expensive.

Slaves USED to cost up to $40,000 and so the slave owners at least took care of their “investment.”

Not today.  Modern day slaves can be bought for as little as $30…or free if they’re kidnapped.  So they’re cheap and disposable.

This is wrong and YOU can help by switching to Fair Trade coffee and chocolate.  Halloween is coming…don’t give Americans kids FREE chocolate…harvested by CHILDREN WHO WILL NEVER BE FREE!

October is Fair Trade Month – Don’t Buy CHEAP CHOCOLATE for Halloween!!

Halloween is such an exciting “holiday” for children…the magic of fantasy, costumes, parties and…CANDY!  FREE candy, no less! I STILL remember the excitement of Halloween and specific, favorite costumes over the years.  What I really remember was the wonder over the pillowcases full of sweet, FREE booty (which every dentist in America publicly decries but secretly promotes.)

So, now that you know that CHILD SLAVES harvest cheap chocolate…can you REALLY buy slave trade chocolate this year?  What? You didn’t know that most chocolate that is cheap and readily available in every store in America is tainted by the sweat of slave children? That slave children:

  • work 80-100 hours a week in hot, inhumane conditions
  • are whipped and beaten with sticks and bicycle chains
  • hack the cocoa pods down out of the trees with machetes
  • are housed like animals in over-crowded shacks using a communal bucket for a toilet (and are locked in when not working)
  • don’t go to school
  • don’t receive medical care
  • may never see their families again and 
  • have never even TASTED chocolate themselves?

So, now that you know…are YOU going to buy cheap chocolate?  Oh, for your sake, I certainly hope not.  The companies with the WORST record is Hershey’s Chocolate and Nestle’s.  Find out what they sell and then DON’T BUY IT!  Buy Fair Trade instead…

I mean seriously, how can we send American children out to collect FREE chocolate that was harvested on the backs of children in developing countries that will never know what FREEDOM means?????  Will never taste chocolate.  Will never celebrate ANYTHING. Nope, no can do.

posted by Janet Byers

Feelings for the children who aren’t children

How do I feel about the slavery of children?

I feel sick to my stomach… I want to hit something.  It’s not right that little children have their innocence taken from them by being forced to become slaves… for something we pay as little as a quarter for.

Cheap chocolate and coffee… these are what they are stolen, used, and their lives thrown away for.

Coffee kids pick the coffee by hand and are exposed to toxic chemicals that are harmful to their health and the environment.  Will their little bodies absorb so many toxins that their kids will have birth defects?  Probably.  Will they ever go to school or have a chance at a better life?  Probably not.

In order for the children to get the cocoa pods they use machetes;  these same machetes sometimes take off body parts!  The foremen and big corporations who exploit them don’t care… they don’t care that these children are crippled for life…they don’t care that the will never have a normal childhood.

But I care.  Some of these little ones were promised a better life and an education but they don’t get that….what they get are beatings, starvation, and possible dismemberment.  They don’t deserve this; they deserve a real life:  friends, family and an education.  But they are denied that.

Basic happiness, denied.  Freedom, stolen.  Love, destroyed.  This is what happens to children as young as 8… sometimes even younger.

Do any of these children deserve this?  Do they deserve to be beaten, mutilated, starved and kept like animals?  No they don’t… no one does!

Posted by Jason Byers