Coffee, Black, Hold the Slavery

COFFEE STATISTICS: 50% of the population, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees.

COFFEE SHOP FACTS: Independent coffee shops equal $12 billion in annual sales.

COFFEE STATISTICS: The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 250 million working children, 120 million of whom work full time (no school).

COFFEE SHOP FACTS: Farmers, unable to turn a profit in recent years, have refused to pay their laborers, and instead kept them working without pay through beatings, intimidation and threats of magical spells. Child slaves in Ivory Coast are normally between nine and sixteen years old. These slave are illiterate, hungry and desperate for money.

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Ok so we know slavery is bad, and in my opinion weakens a country as a whole; because while things may cost less for other countries who are exporting… that also means less money for the countries that we are exporting from.  In 1998, a U.S. State Department background report on the country acknowledged the existence of child slavery in Ivory Coast in West Africa. Later in 2001, Save the Children Canada reported the 15,000 children between nine and twelve years old, had been tricked or sold into slavery, many for just 30 cents.  If that’s the minimum that people are paying for kids, that would equal $4,500, that’s not really a lot considering all they do… and what is the American saying, “You can’t put a price on a human life.”  Certainly sounds like many in the Ivory Coast can and do.

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

Fair Trade Towns – Good Idea or Hype?

Ran across this article and thought it a great idea. Awareness is getting stronger about Fair Trade (and I suspect corporations are behind a good deal of the hype and “bad press” about Fair Trade because they want to keep exploiting the poor while making themselves rich!)

When I found out that the coffee I drink every day is harvested on the backs of slaves, damages the environment, poisons not only the earth and the workers but ME because of the petrochemicals and pesticides in 99% of the world’s coffee…well, my morning cuppa java didn’t taste so good, ya know?

I’ve recently started drinking TRUE Fair Trade coffee…and it’s organic, shade grown, totally the BEST coffee I’ve ever had AND pays the coffee farmers 70% ABOVE the Fair Trade floor. Their farmers practice organic farming that is good for their environment and they don’t use petrochemicals or pesticides. I mean seriously, did YOU know you were drinking pesticides every morning? NO WONDER coffee used to taste so bitter to me…AND give me horrible headaches!

Visit Our Mission Coffee and learn the truth about YOUR coffee!

City mulls ‘Fair Trade’ moniker

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 By CLARK MASON

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Healdsburg could become the first “Fair Trade Town” in Sonoma County, part of an effort to promote fair labor practices and decent work environments in the production of imported food and goods.

Healdsburg City Council members this week expressed unanimous support for a resolution in support of the designation, which is intended to promote a fair wage and safe and healthy working conditions.

The idea is to make consumers more aware of the products they buy, avoid supply chains that rely on child labor and human trafficking, and guarantee fair wages to farmers and artisans.  >> Read Full Story

Most Major Brands Surpass Hershey in Responsible Cocoa Sourcing

Change.org
by Tim Newman · December 02, 2010

New commitments to sustainable cocoa from some of the largest cocoa and chocolate companies in the world have left Hershey even farther behind its competitors in responsible sourcing practices. In the past month, Barry Callebaut and Unilever have made significant agreements to produce chocolate products certified to meet international labor standards, greatly increasing the global production and demand of sustainable cocoa. As an industry that has long been tainted by child labor, forced labor and trafficking, it is critical that chocolate companies take responsibility for the conditions under which their cocoa is produced. Why is Hershey so far behind?  >> Read Full Story