With Halloween upon us and holiday baking not far behind, think in terms of fair-trade chocolate and other ingredients for sharing and for cooking.
According to Vince Isner in the October 13 General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church:
This Halloween Americans will spend an estimated $1.2 billion on everyone’s favorite treat, chocolate. Yet behind America’s sweet tooth lurks a darker, bitter truth: In West Africa, where more than 75% of the world’s supply of cocoa originates, the industry routinely relies on child and slave labor to satisfy the world’s demand for chocolate. The U.S. State Dept. has called it “one of the worst forms of child labor.”
The State Dept. estimates that as many as 100,000 children are forced to labor in cocoa factories in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Many are child slaves trafficked from neighboring countries.
In Ivory Coast neighbors Burkina Faso and Mali, thousands of children as young as seven are abducted, smuggled across the border, and sold into slavery. These children are forced to perform the most punishing, dangerous tasks associated with harvesting cocoa. They hack the pods from high branches and crack them open using machetes — a dangerous job even for skilled adults…Because the United States is the world’s largest consumer of chocolate one of the most effective ways to combat the tragedy of forced labor in West Africa is to buy only fair-trade chocolate.
PC(USA) Just Living resources urge us to remember Fair Trade in our holiday baking—not only chocolate but other ingredients. Support just harvesting and educate others about worker rights by distributing fairly traded candy and chocolate. Fair trade and organic options for sugar, cocoa, and vanilla are also available.
Learn more about fair-trade at Fair Trade USA.