Chocolate and Child Slavery: Ten Years Later

In 2001, Congress attempted to force a slave-free label on all chocolate. In response, major chocolate companies lobbied relentlessly and eventually prevented the regulation.

On October 1, 2001, they vowed to end child slavery in their supply chain on their own by 2005, and claimed that doing so via a 4-year plan without government interference would help to prevent an outright industry boycott of West African chocolate. If forced by regulation, they said, the chocolate companies might have to leave Ivory Coast and other parts of West Africa completely, thus harming the very people the regulation should serve.

Fine.

Now it’s ten years later. The chocolate companies have made $1 trillion in the last decade, and roughly nothing has been done to solve that pesky slavery problem.

I don’t understand how countries can abolish the slave trade and then, well over a century later, blatantly allow it to continue. Perhaps there’s a loophole I’m missing, but to me this looks exactly like the tainted sugar trade in the early 1800’s: far from our sight and yet glaring evidence of our moral degeneracy.

Too many of our products come to us through slavery. Too many of us know about it to let it continue. Slave-made chocolate is only one issue, but it’s a solvable one that should not be allowed to continue. Stop buying it, learn more and sign a petition demanding that, ten years later, something be done.

(Photo by Siostra Nocy)

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