Australians spent about $210 million on Easter chocolate last year. A lot of this chocolate was made using cocoa beans produced in West Africa and harvested by children, working for little or no wages.
The International Labor Rights Forum estimates there are 1.5 million children working in the cocoa sector in West Africa. Estimates indicate that up to 40 million people are trapped in slavery globally – one in four of these are children.
Locals making a difference
When Lizzie Snedden buys Easter eggs for her son Archie this year, she will be ensuring they are slavery-free.
Lizzie said, “I want my son to grow up in a world where children are not used for slave labour. Mindfully purchasing chocolate is a small commitment I can make that provides hope for fair wages for all workers.”
After thinking that it would be difficult to find Easter eggs with the recommended logos, Lizzie was pleasantly surprised to find them in her local supermarket.
“This easy switch to buying slavery-free Easter eggs will send a message to manufacturers who still use child labour to say ‘this is not ok,’” Lizzie said.
Easter is a great opportunity to be aware, and make that change if you haven’t already.
A slavery-free Easter also means a great deal to the Diocesan Social Justice Council and Pastoral Ministries. Professional Officer of Pastoral Ministries, Alyson Segrott said “the meaning of Easter is (of course) the most important aspect of the holiday. However, many people also love to give and receive Easter eggs. It is important to be aware that what we buy may be unintentionally aiding the opposite of love, generosity, and compassion… by consuming products made through acts of exploitation and abuse.”
What does Pope Francis say about slavery?
Last month Pope Francis said that faced with the tragic reality of modern slavery, “no one can wash their hands of it, without being in some way, an accomplice to this crime against humanity.” He urged people to work together, through grass roots action and corporate governance, to end slavery around the world.
Where can you buy slavery-free eggs?
There is now a wide range of slavery-free chocolate and Easter eggs available, including a budget-priced range of UTZ certified products in ALDI and Coles. Check that the Easter product has one of these logos, and you will be doing your part in supporting a slavery-free Easter.
What else can you do?
ACRATH urges consumers this Easter to:
- buy only slavery-free chocolate – use your buying power to take a stand
- use only slavery-free chocolate in school and work fundraising
- eat only slavery-free chocolate. If your local/favourite shop doesn’t sell slavery-free chocolate then ask them to please start stocking it
- find out about cocoa bean production and the plight of many children in chocolate production
- thank the managers of stores that are stocking slavery-free chocolate this Easter
- discuss your slavery-free chocolate decision with five other people to help spread the word; and
- educate yourself through ACRATH website.
You may also like to skip the Easter eggs and give a gift to Caritas instead.
Alyson said “At Easter time we celebrate the most generous gift, through the death of Christ on the cross for our sins. You might like to consider a more ethical Easter by making a donation to Caritas Project Compassion.”