Posts Tagged ‘child labor’

Where Does Your Halloween Chocolate Come From?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

DSCN2168With Halloween approaching, we are beginning to see the ubiquitous bags of bargain chocolate candies for sale on every end cap at almost every store. Hershey’s, Mars, Nestle: all of our favorite chocolates are there. We buy the big bags to display in cute pumpkin buckets and hand out to the adorable trick-or-treaters who come to our doors. Most of us don’t ever stop to think about where that chocolate comes from. Most of us don’t know about the dark side of the chocolate industry.

The shocking truth is that much of the chocolate in the world is grown by children. More than a quarter million young children are used as forced labor to grow the chocolate that becomes the Halloween candy consumed by our little ones. Many of these children are sold as slaves to the chocolate plantations, and many of the others are forced to work. These children suffer under terrible work conditions and are denied the chance to go to school. This is where our chocolate comes from.

The major chocolate companies know that the cocoa beans they buy are grown and harvested by children, yet they do nothing to stop it. We in America need to step up and start telling chocolate manufacturers that we will not be a part of this. We need to vote with our purchasing choices and choose to buy chocolate that has not been the cause of a child’s suffering.

There are a lot of small chocolate manufacturers who are choosing to purchase ethically grown chocolate and it is worth finding them and supporting them with our purchases. There are some good options for ethical Halloween candy out there. There’s this post with ethical baby steps for change and this one with a round up of Halloween chocolate ideas.

I used to be the kind of grocery shopper who grabbed a chocolate bar in the check out lane, but thankfully when you know better, you do better. I just can’t see those chocolates without thinking of the children who are missing out on their childhood so that we can have that cheap chocolate bar. It might cost me more, but I choose to go out of my way to find ethical chocolate to purchase.

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!