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!

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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.

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