Tag Archive: human trafficking



Eating animals is wrong, vegans say. But so is eating slave-made chocolate, or wearing sweatshop clothing. Guess which one vegans of the Global North care about?

Not that one issue is more important than another, but it is more than frustrating when I see vegans (mostly vegans of the global north) say “this is cruelty-free” about products made from human suffering. Vegan chocolate cake made with trafficked child labor? Mmm, delicious

I wish vegans would demand fair trade/ethical goods, protest the prison-industrial-complex, or fight against food deserts as much as they put effort into getting vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

What prompted me to write this was a series of exchanges I saw on Twitter, where white vegans from western nations were admonishing people of color for eating animals as part of their cultural identity. Continue reading


Source: Sweet Earth Chocolates

Source: Sweet Earth Chocolates

The issue of slavery in cocoa production has gained lots of awareness in recent years, but some people are still are not aware (or don’t care) that children and slaves in West Africa are forced to harvest and process cocoa. You just might be giving your loved one a gift of slavery.

Below are a bunch of old posts of mine on chocolate and slavery—perfect for one of the biggest chocolate holidays. Check out the gift-giving guide for some last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts that doesn’t support slavery.


Photo by Glenna Gordon via Wronging Rights

Anyone who has been on Facebook and Twitter over the past 24 hours has probably seen impassioned pleas to watch a high-production video by Invisible Children, an American NGO (whose Board of Directors just happens to be entirely white American males). And anyone who is following many of the [International Relations] tweeters out there, you have also probably began to see the backlash.

For those of you who do not know what is going on, the video produced by Invisible Children discusses the conflict in Uganda with the Lord’s Resistance Army and in particular the crimes of the movement’s leader Joseph Kony – calling upon the world (particularly the United States) to act by signing a petition and, apparently, buying bracelets.…

However, the solutions that Invisible Children (and other organisations, such as Human Rights Watch – now getting in on the #KONY2012 action) advocates are problematic. Others (see this article in Foreign Affairs) have pointed out that military humanitarian intervention in Uganda has been tried and tried again – always ultimately failing and managing to make matters a lot worse for civilians on the ground. Worse, in advocating for these policies, organisations such as Invisible Children, are giving a misleading and simplistic impression of what is actually happening on the ground…

Continue reading at The Duck of Minerva: Invisible Children – Pretty Dang Visible.


posh chocolat

This barrage of chocolate-related posts is me capitalizing on the increased traffic I’m getting because of Valentine’s Day searches. By Tuesday of next week, Crunchy & Chic will go back to it’s regularly scheduled programming. In the meantime, enjoy this post from the San Antonio Current:

Valentine’s Day is the chocolate industry’s holiday season. With an eye toward this February’s annual love-fest, the International Labor Rights Forum purchased an advertising slot on a jumbotron outside the Super Bowl’s Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on which to broadcast a video called Hershey’s Chocolate, Kissed by Child Labor.

Africa produces 70 percent of the world’s cocoa — much of it with the region’s infamously cheap labor. “In West Africa, where Hershey’s sources much of its cocoa, over 200,000 children are forced to harvest cocoa beans every year,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, via a press release.

On the day the Super Bowl ad was announced, Hershey’s released a statement detailing steps it would take toward improving labor and sustainability practices, including a $10 million investment in its West African suppliers. That was enough to buy the company a temporary reprieve from the ILRF.

“Hershey’s pledged to take the first step to address rampant forced and child labor in its supply chain,” said Sean Rudolph, ILRF’s campaigns director, “so we decided to pull the ad as a gesture of good faith.”

The scuffle highlights the dark side of a food that, like love, can be bitter or sweet. In addition to labor issues, chocolate plantations can be responsible for deforestation, when growers raze rainforest to plant more cocoa trees.

But chocolate production can also be empowering to farmers and relatively healthy for the environment.

Read more at Hershey’s, West African child labor, and the promise of Brazil’s ‘cabruca’ system – Food – San Antonio Current.


Sources: The Frog Blog UK, Fooducate

Not that many people know about the child labor and human trafficking that’s involved in chocolate production, or they wouldn’t dare give a box of chocolate as a gift for Valentine’s Day. Seems like my last post has garnered a few hits, but I didn’t explain what slave-free chocolate was, only where you could find it. To start, you can check out The CNN Freedom Project: there’s a section dedicated to slavery in the chocolate industry. I highly recommend the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate as a primer into cocoa, child trafficking, and what the chocolate industry has (not) been doing. You can get the DVD (and info on how to host a screening) for $6 here. Watch it, show it to your friends and family, and help spread consumer awareness to urge companies to stop using slave labor in their cocoa.

While you’re waiting for the video to come in the mail, here’s a quick rundown of the state of chocolate today:

Continue reading


 

valentines-day-chocolates

Source: Gift Ideas Place

I’m about to do another fair trade chocolate event for Valentine’s day and wanted to share with you all an indispensable resource I used last year. It’s is a table of various chocolate bars/companies that lists whether the chocolates are organic and/or fair trade, and where you can buy them. I used it to find local chocolatiers who were able to sponsor my chocolate tasting event/fundraiser, and I raised money to help ILRF end child trafficking and slavery in the Ivory Coast. If you find a company you like, do try to double-check that they still make the product in the list—I was informed, for example, that Dagoba is now owned by Hershey, one of the most notorious companies that hasn’t done anything to ensure their chocolate isn’t made with child or slave labor.

You can find the list under my Where to find Ethical Goods page and here. You can also learn more about child trafficking in the cocoa industry at those links. If you have suggestions for what kinds of products I should add to my Ethical Goods list, please let me know.

child with cocoa beans

Source: International Labor Rights Forum

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