In the past year, several reports discussing the disturbing evidence of the use of child trafficking and child labor within the international chocolate supply chain have been in the news. John Robbins, author of The New Good Life and The Food Revolution, wrote in a September 2010 Huffington Post article:
“Ivory Coast, located on the southern coast of West Africa, is by far the world’s largest supplier of cocoa beans, providing 43 percent of the world’s supply. According to an investigative report by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), hundreds of thousands of children are being purchased from their parents for a pittance, or in some cases outright stolen, and then shipped to Ivory Coast, where they are enslaved on cocoa farms. These children typically come from countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Destitute parents in these poverty-stricken lands sell their children to traffickers believing that they will find honest work once they arrive in Ivory Coast and then send some of their earnings home. But that’s not what happens. These children, usually 11-to-16-years-old but sometimes younger, are forced to do hard manual labor 80 to 100 hours a week. They are paid nothing, receive no education, are barely fed, are beaten regularly, and are often viciously beaten if they try to escape. Most will never see their families again.”
For the next installment of our ongoing environmental justice film series, the Green Sanctuary Team will be hosting a free screening of the film The Dark Side of Chocolate, a documentary produced by award-winning human rights educator, filmmaker, and photographer U. Roberto Romano, on Sunday, July 31, 2011, in the Fellowship Hall at 12:20pm after the worship service.
This film documents Mr. Romano’s trip to western Africa to investigate the region’s cocoa production practices and the reactions of state leaders and world chocolate manufacturers. Refreshments featuring fair trade chocolate will be available for a donation, and fair trade chocolate bars will be available for purchase. The film is not rated but is considered suitable for mature young adults and up. Please join us as we get a behind-the-scenes view into the chocolate trade and learn about how we can take action to help protect these children and make the production of one of our favorite treats more sustainable. Go to www.thedarksideofchocolate.org or contact email@example.com for more information.