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Old 02-11-2006, 10:51 PM   #1
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The Sad Story of Your Valentine's Chocolate

We all love the taste of chocolate and millions of people around the world will indulge in it this coming Valentine's Day.

But do you know HOW that chocolate got to you? Do you have any idea of the pain and the suffering that went into bringing you that piece of tasty sensory pleasure?

Probably not.

So here is the sad truth of chocolate.



http://www.globalexchange.org/campai...irtrade/cocoa/



While chocolate is sweet for us, it can be heartbreaking for the hundreds of thousands of child laborers that pick the cocoa that goes into some of our favorite treats. In 2001, the U.S. State Department, the International Labor Organization and others reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, source of 43% of the worlds cocoa. Subsequent research by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture revealed some 284,000 children between the ages of 9 and 12 working in hazardous conditions on West African cocoa farms. Of these children, it was reported that some 12,000 child cocoa workers that had participated in the study were likely to have arrived in their situation as a result of child trafficking.


The cause of these problems is poverty. With annual revenues for cocoa farmers in the region averaging between $30-$108 per household member, per year, many cocoa farming families face difficult choices about whether to have their children work on the farm or send them to school. According to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, some two thirds of all cocoa workers do not regularly attend school. Some familes are so poor that their children are tricked or inadvertently sold into slavery in the hopes of earning additional income to help make ends meet.



Producer poverty comes at the hands of global corporations like M&M Mars, and other members of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of America, that manipulate the market to keep profits high while producer incomes stay low. Under intense pressure from consumers and the U.S. Congress, the global chocolate industry agreed to a voluntary protocol to end child slavery on cocoa farms by July 2005. But rather than accept responsibility for their role in exacerbating producer poverty, their plan placed the blame on farmers without providing them the resources they need to feed their families and keep their children in school. Four years after these problems first came to light, little has been accomplished and consumers are once again demanding a comprehensive and lasting solution.



The solution is FAIR TRADE (denoted by the "Fair Trade Certified" or "Fair Trade Federation" labels). Fair Trade guarantees producers the income they need to send their kids to school and pay their workers and provides consumers a trusted guarantee that no forced or abusive child labor was used. Since 2002, Global Exchange has been demanding that the US chocolate industry, solve this crisis by selling Fair Trade chocolate. M&M/Mars and its industry partners have refused the demands of over 200 organizations, thousands of K-12 students, and thousands of concerned adults who have contacted them to demand Fair Trade.



We need to come together in even larger numbers make it clear that we will accept nothing less than Fair Trade from M&M/Mars and the US chocolate industry. We also need to work to make existing Fair Trade chocolate and cocoa products available in our communities through school/youth-club fundraisers, stores, campuses, community groups, faith-based groups, and more. Join us today to make chocolate as sweet for cocoa producers as it is for you. You can get involved wherever you are.






Here is a list of fair trade organizations where you can get fair traded, non- exploitative chocolate to share with your sweethearts and make this a truly special Valentine's Day:


http://www.globalexchange.org/campai...retailers.html



I personally have been buying Divine chocolate bars from SERVV for several years now and enjoy them tremendously.


PLEASE help some of the world's poorest people get a fair price for their cocoa beans and stop the exploitative child labor that currently exists on these cocoa producing plantations!


I thank you for your time and for your action to stop this silent humanitarian injustice.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:41 AM   #2
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hmmm good to know who is involved in this (i would like to know all chocolate producers who are)

I rarely eat chocolate and woudl not mind if i paid more for the occasional bar

i wonce looked for a list with all companies that emloy child labour... could find any. does anyone have one?
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:40 AM   #3
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Jamila, do you wear Diamonds?
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:59 AM   #4
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Jamila, do you wear Diamonds?
fly so high, do you are searching for reasons to do nothing and close your eyes ?
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:07 AM   #5
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i think the point is rather to be consequent and not be selective in what you support and what not
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:05 AM   #6
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I do not each chocolate....it gives me migranes. I do not wear diamonds....

I post here....
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:32 AM   #7
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Thank you for the links Jamila!
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:50 AM   #8
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Will you select which families get to continue with their cocoa business once prices are raised and less chocolate is purchased?
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:00 AM   #9
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I don't eat chocolate. It leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:09 AM   #10
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Politically or as food?
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Old 02-12-2006, 02:12 PM   #11
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Will you select which families get to continue with their cocoa business once prices are raised and less chocolate is purchased?
If it means the children of those families get the opportunity to go to school and grow up to develop new businesses or work in other industries, then yes.
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Old 02-12-2006, 02:40 PM   #12
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No one gives me any Valentine's Day chocolates.

So I guess being a pitiful, unloved person means I'm good then.

Cool!

...I think....
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:37 PM   #13
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If it means the children of those families get the opportunity to go to school and grow up to develop new businesses or work in other industries, then yes.
And what do yo say to the other families who lose their cocoa business?
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:03 PM   #14
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And what do yo say to the other families who lose their cocoa business?
Like everyone else who loses their job, they will have to do something else. And like everyone else who loses their job, it can be an opportunity as opposed to sure ruin and perish. The cycle of slavery has to stop somewhere. ...as it did in America.

Farm other products or relocate to work/develop new industries that have also become opportunities due to FAIR TRADE. With the right support structures that may even allow them to send their kids to school.

This is the type of restructuring that responsible foreign aid CAN have a direct impact on.
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:30 PM   #15
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So we feel better about our FAIR TRADE, while how many families will be forced to "do something else".

What part of FAIR did they get?
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