Slavery… really?

I feel so naive for not knowing. I did hear something, a few years ago, but then the issue seemed to vanish for a while. Yes, slavery. Still. Maybe as many as 27 million slaves in the world today. Who knows, maybe more — it’s hard to get accurate information about illegal activities, I suppose. And even if it’s only half that… that is a lot of slaves.Just to be clear: I am not talking about workers who don’t get paid enough, or people with dirty and dangerous jobs. Slaves get paid nothing for their work. They are locked up, chained sometimes, not able to leave. And usually, they are violently abused, fed next to nothing — you get the picture.

Some things that make the situation even worse perhaps: a lot of the slaves are children. Much of the chocolate in your Hershey bar comes from cocoa beans picked by child slaves. All of the large US chocolate companies use cocoa that was partly grown and harvested by slaves.

It’s a complex issue, and I don’t want to just point fingers and blame the chocolate companies. They don’t own the farms, and they didn’t create the problem. They aren’t doing a real lot to solve the problem, either.

Fairly traded chocolate and fairly traded coffee do not use slave labor. That’s maybe the easiest thing we can do to end slavery. I’ll be putting up links to some other things that people can do to help, too.

What do you think? When did you first hear about slavery in the chocolate industry, or about slavery in the world today? Would you like to be part of the solution?


About esidener

I am a dangerously creative and as yet unpublished author, middle aged former teacher with 3 wonderful kids and a pretty good wife.
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