With Easter just around the corner, you may have begun indulging in an Easter egg or 10. Whilst savouring the deliciousness that is chocolate, have you ever stopped and thought about how many children suffered for that egg?
The International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF) estimates that there are 1.5 million children working in the cocoa sector in West Africa. The majority of chocolate purchased this year will be produced using child labour, with many of these children enslaved or forced to work in disastrous conditions.
Christine Carolan, the Executive Officer of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), one of the Slavery-Free Easter Chocolate Campaign members, said buying slavery-free chocolate at Easter gave people the opportunity to take a stand against human trafficking and slavery.
“We know that some children, working in some of the cocoa farms in West Africa are trafficked. Many others work in dangerous conditions for little or no wages and cannot attend school,” Ms Carolan said.
Ms Carolan said many supermarkets in Australia are selling slavery-free chocolate this Easter and great gains have been made in recent years, including:
- Cadbury dairy milk blocks and bars made in Australia are FAIRTRADE
- All Mars bars made in Australia are now Rainforest Alliance
- All Nestlé chocolate made in Australia and NZ is now UTZ certified
- Aldi supermarkets have a wide variety of UTZ certified Easter chocolate, and
- Haigh’s Easter range of chocolates is UTZ certified.
“The supermarkets are slowly coming to the party, but we can do better. We want to make all the chocolate in our supermarkets and stores slavery-free,” Ms Carolan said.
This Easter, she urges consumers to do five things:
- Buy only slavery-free chocolate – use your buying power to take a stand.
- Eat only slavery-free chocolate. If your local/favourite shop doesn’t sell slavery-free chocolate, ask for it to be stocked.
- Find out about cocoa bean production and the plight of many children in chocolate production.
- Thank the managers of stores sho are stocking slavery-free chocolate this Easter.
- Discuss your slavery-free chocolate decision with five other people to help spread the word.
What do I need to look for?
Slavery-free chocolate will feature one of these certification labels on the wrappers: Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ. This shows that the cocoa beans used in the chocolate’s production have been sourced ethically, from farmers who engage in good labour practices.
Image courtesy of Stop the Traffik blog.