The following is a re-post of an article that I wrote several years ago. Not much has changed. I hope you'll read thoughfully. Should you choose to do more than just think about it, an organization called Free the Slaves has information and resources to help you get started, whether you are working with a religious group, a student group, or as a concerned individual.
Almost 20 years ago I decided to try a few days without meat and it became a habit. People get very upset about that. Ask any vegetarian and you’ll likely hear that their friends and families react to their food choices with alarm, suspicion, and downright anger.
Imagine, then, the reaction I get when people learn that I don’t eat chocolate. Actually, I do eat chocolate but not if there’s even a slight chance that the cocoa used in production comes from the Ivory Coast. And here’s why:
Over 40 per cent of the world’s cocoa beans are grown in the Ivory Coast region. Much of that is harvested by children as young as 9 years old, and believe me – they aren’t working there for the health insurance. These children are slaves, either abducted or purchased for a minimal sum. They are beaten, starved (most of them have never even tasted M&Ms or a Snickers bar), worked all day, every day, and left to die alone when they are too sick to work.
Hershey’s, Mars, Cadbury, Godiva, and most of the companies whose chocolate you find in the store are supporting the slavers and the institution of slavery when they buy cocoa from Ivory Coast. They have claimed ignorance of child slavery in the past, but have declined to stop supporting slavery even now that various human rights groups have made the practice known to them. It’s a financial issue, you see. They pay less for slave-produced cocoa than for Fair Trade cocoa. They make more money by perpetuating child slavery.
And meanwhile children continue to be beaten, tortured, and worked literally to death. Why? Because every time we buy slave-tainted chocolate, we make it profitable for the companies to continue slavery as usual.
A child who escaped from slavery says this: “Tell them when they eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”
As a vegetarian, I prefer to avoid eating meat of any kind, including human.
Does it bother you? Are you opposed to child abuse, slavery, human trafficking? Then do something.