Did you know that in Cote D’Ivoire, boys as young as ten years old are trafficked from neighbouring countries to pick and harvest cocoa beans? The cocoa that they harvest is likely to be in our chocolate this Easter.
In situations of poverty and exploitation, trafficked children and adults labour on cocoa farms in West Africa. It is estimated that over 2.1million children in West Africa alone are employed on cocoa plantations, performing the backbreaking and hazardous job of harvesting cocoa beans.
Our friends at Stop the Traffik think chocolate companies have a responsibility to address the key issues that contribute to the trafficking of children for work on cocoa farms. These children are subject to physical, emotional and sexual abuse and chocolate producers have the power to stand up for their freedom and their rights.
So together with our diocese, the Diocese of Christchurch and Tearfund, this year Stop the Traffik is campaigning for the global chocolate companies, as well as New Zealand’s largest retailers and chocolate makers to use their influence for positive change. They have created a fantastic set of resources to ensure your Easter is traffick-free.
You can go to www.traffikfreechocolate.co.nz for information and some key ways you can make yours a traffick-free Easter, including age-appropriate school lesson plans. If you want to look further afield, the UK Stop the Traffik site has information on how the top five global cocoa manufacturers are performing, plus further resources.
And if you’re out chocolate-buying, be sure to look for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance Certified, or UTZ labels on the products – these are the most ethically produced on the market.
Photo courtesy Stop the Traffik Australia