You probably won’t see this on TV or read about it in the local newspaper but when you shop for Halloween candy you might want to think about it:
Every major chocolate company except Hershey has severed ties to cocoa farms that use child and forced labor.
Hershey still produces its sweets with “child and forced labor.” That’s what a petition being circulated by Change.org seeks to end.
Isn’t it hard to believe that slavery – for that’s what it is – still exists today? Yet, this is not just political hyperbole dreamed up by overheated “liberals.”
Here’s what a report commissioned by the U.S. Congress found:
The report identifies the ongoing exploitation of labor rights in the cocoa sector including the worst forms of child labor, forced labor and trafficking. New research related to the trafficking of young workers from Burkina Faso and Mali found that most of them moved to Cote d’Ivoire without their natural parents or guardians.
Virtually all respondents in the survey of migrant workers experienced the worst forms of child labor including: verbal, physical and sexual harassment; restrictions of their freedom of movement; performing hazardous work, including land clearing and burning; carrying heavy loads; spraying pesticides; and using machetes, among other dangerous activities.
At the same time, border police and guards in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana receive almost no training in dealing with child trafficking and are unaware of policies and intervention strategies related to dealing with child trafficking. Unsurprisingly, only a miniscule percentage of respondents who had experienced trafficking and the worst forms of child labor benefited from any sort of intervention or assistance.
Sadly, this is not the only instance of child slavery in the murky underworld that serves a pleasure-seeking western society. Thousands of children at home and abroad are captured, intimidated and brutalized to provide carnal pleasure for a twisted clientele.
Of course, you will see that on TV. Sex sells.
But the media are not interested in the myriad other examples of oppression and abuse routinely committed day in and day out to provide profit and pleasure for the industrialized world.
Thankfully, groups like Change.org are battling behind the scenes to make society less nightmarish.
(Click on the illustration above to make it more readable.)