Each Easter, millions of Australians will enjoy a chocolate egg or bilby, but few consider the dark reality of exploitation that lurks within its supply chains. The chocolate industry has long been tainted by reports of forced labor and slavery, particularly in West African countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast, which produce most of the world’s cocoa.
The International Labor Organization says that an estimated 1.56 million children are involved in hazardous work in cocoa production in West Africa, with many forced to work long hours, use dangerous equipment, and endure physical and emotional abuse.
“Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.”
– Pope Francis
Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) this year is encouraging Australians to join the campaign for Slavery Free Easter eggs and Chocolate.
While some chocolate companies have taken steps to address these issues, such as implementing certification programs and working with local communities to improve working conditions, progress has been slow and there is still much work to be done.
Consumers can play a role in combating slavery in chocolate supply chains by choosing to buy from companies that have transparent and ethical sourcing practices, and by supporting advocacy efforts to hold the industry accountable. Which of the following actions will you pledge to do this year?
● Commit to buying only chocolate carrying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certification logo. Companies sourcing cocoa certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade are working towards the elimination of slavery in the cocoa industry.
● Tell at least five other people about slavery in the cocoa industry and encourage them to buy products displaying the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade logo. They will discover how delicious it tastes.
● Display the ACRATH poster in your school, parish, workplace or home.
● Make a donation to support the work of ACRATH. Donations can be made online at https://www.trybooking.com/au/donate/acrath.
Thanks to ACRATH for the above information. To find more information about this topic, go to the ACRATH web site at: https://acrath.org.au/take-action/chocolate/