Stop The Traffik
Civitan International is partnering with the anti-human trafficking organization Stop The Traffick (www.stopthetraffik.org) to combat slavery and forced labor practices around the world.
Every year, thousands of people - including children as young as eight years old - are trafficked and forced into labor on cocoa farms in West Africa. Farms in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire (which itself supplies more than 40% of the world's chocolate) use slave labor to produce the chocolate shipped out to consumers around the world. These children are taken from their parents, shipped hundreds of miles from home, and work long hours of forced labor for years, constantly under the threat of violence.
Chances are, unless you only buy Fair Trade chocolate, your favorite chocolate bar has come from slave labor. None of the major chocolate companies, including Nestle, Hershey, Mars, Cadbury, and others, currently sell chocolate in the United States that is guaranteed slavery-free.
So what can we do about it?
Purchase Fair Trade Chocolate
Fair Trade is a guarantee from a large, independent organization that the product you are purchasing came from producers who were paid a fair price, use sustainable growing practices, don't use slave labor, and don't use trafficked children. You can find a list of Fair Trade companies and products at http://www.transfairusa.org, or view a list of Fair Trade products at your local store here! Most importantly, look for these symbols on your chocolate:
Ask stores to carry Fair Trade chocolate
When stores start demanding Fair Trade chocolate, the big companies start taking notice. If your local store or candy shop doesn't carry Fair Trade, ask them if they would. Tell them you wouldn't mind paying an extra dollar for chocolate that was slavery-free. Tell them what Fair Trade means.
Let manufacturers know that you want slavery-free chocolate
Send letters, call and email larger chocolate makers to let them know that you want them to certify that their suppliers do not use enslavement or forced child labor. When consumers demand Fair Trade chocolate, companies take notice.
Contact your government representatives about the issue
Encourage your government to oppose these practices, and enact legislation to prevent the import of products made with slavery and forced child labor.