Not all chocolates are sweet

I watched in horror when I saw this video being posted in facebook.

In the video, children as young as and even younger than 14 are kidnapped or sold to become slaves for the harvesting of cocoa. They were forced to work from dawn to evening, working with machetes, which is extremely dangerous in a child’s hands and just as dangerous when not used with care by an adult. At the end of the day, they are then locked in a shed so that they could not escape. Those who try to, are beaten up severely.

None of these children are paid, nor given an education. Many of them are forced to work in the plantation for years. I cant imagine being deprived of my tween-teenage days like that, days when we would be complaining about homework, hanging out with friends and just having a carefree life.

You know, as much as I love chocolate, I don’t condone slavery in any part of the making of chocolate and I’m quite willing to give up eating chocolate by companies who are guilty of using non fair trade chocolates. There are quite a number of well known brands such as Hershey’s, Nestle and M&M’s.

I tried to find a listing of free trade chocolate online, but haven’t been too successful in finding a comprehensive one. This particular site seems revolved around the USA.

Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted this out yesterday (Cart wanted to make a semifreddo) in the chocolate section in coop, a brand of cooperative hypermarket in Italy.

rinaz.net Chocolate

What this means is that, similar to the Body Shop, the company trades from countries to utilise their resources for the communities to meet their own needs.

I bought a box of these candied orange coated chocolates. Which, by the way, tastes quite as good as the ones that Jerrick and I bought at Valrhona some months back.

rinaz.net Chocolate

At the back of the package, printed in a maroon box on the right said, “Made without discrimination nor labour exploitation”

rinaz.net Chocolate

I’ve always liked the idea of a cooperative where everyone gets a fair share and profits be divided equally.

9 thoughts on “Not all chocolates are sweet”

  1. I had no idea child slavery was involved in the cocoa industry – what an eye-opener. It’s scary the lengths people would go to in order to make money. The chocolates you bought look really good tho!

    1. Yeah, I’ve no idea till recently. I’ve thought that slavery was abolished since decades ago.

      And yes, the chocolates were lovely. I’d like to try the macadamia nuts one the next time 🙂

  2. It always disgusts me how major corporations use exploitive methods like these to increase their profit margin and then try to hide it from the public to maintain the image of being wholesome.

    Even so, I don’t know if I could give up my favorite chocolates. I’d be willing to pay a bit more for them to be produced honestly though.

  3. Oh man, thank for the eye-opener, Rinaz! I feel so sad for those kids, trapped with nowhere to go. Hope someone/some organizations will be brave enough to promote fair-trade chocolate, and make people more aware of this slavery!

    I’ll definitely check for fair-trade label on chocolates from now on. Usually I never care hehehe.

  4. Nah.. ur not communist… U’ll be communist if u jus preach sharing, but ended up with all the profits… ur willing to share and that’s what make the difference. Anyway, I’ve no idea about the slavery involved in coco plantations until I saw this. I always thought these ‘profit-give back to communities’ happens to the coffee and tea growers..lol.. must be too much starbucks and coffee bean for me.

  5. I’v watched the BBC panorama on the bitter truth about chocolate some months back. The majority of chocolate consumers in the world actually eat chocolate that is obtained through, yes, this brutal inhumane method of child abuse. The figure may be incorrect, but it is somewhere in that region.

    While my husband has given up eating chocolate after watching the programme, I haven’t simply because I love dark chocolate too much to give it up. But that doesn’t mean I support the way manufacturers obtain cocoa through child slavery. Unfortunately I can’t get Fair Trade chocolate in Tokyo.

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