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Old 02-11-2006, 09:51 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, 02:41 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, 04:40 AM   #3
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Jamila, do you wear Diamonds?
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:59 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, 05:07 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, 07:05 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, 07:32 AM   #7
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Thank you for the links Jamila!
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:50 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, 10:00 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, 10:09 AM   #10
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Politically or as food?
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:12 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, 01:40 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, 04:37 PM   #13
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Originally posted by AliEnvy


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, 05:03 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, 06:30 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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Old 02-12-2006, 07:24 PM   #16
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First of all - I am a working class person.

I barely have enough to pay my rent let alone wear something as petty as a diamond.

Second, these cocoa plantations are not owned by little poor farmers who would lose their livlihood if fair trade practices were instituted.

These farms are part of international agribusiness who operate with very little oversight.


Third - where is the Christian ethic here?

Some of the most callous comments and attempts at caustic humor are being done by those who have ad naseum professed their "christian" beliefs.

AM I TO ASSUME THAT CHILD SLAVERY IS IN SYNC WITH YOUR BRAND OF CHRISTIANITY?

I expect these kinds of off hand remarks when we're talking about something harder for people to relate to like the environment or animal welfare, but when you turn your backs on the horrible existence of some of the world's poorest children who are forced to work in slave-like conditions to make your Hershey bars (or your kids') then I am completely baffled!

So much for taking care of the least of these, I guess.
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:26 PM   #17
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I don't want to eat something that I know has been produced off the slave-like labor of little children!

-------------------------------------------------------


Here is some more info on the situation in the Ivory Coast regarding child labor on cocoa producing plantations:


http://www.laborrights.org/projects/...coa_063004.htm




Chocolate and Child Slavery: Unfulfilled Promises of the Cocoa Industry

International Labor Rights Fund
June 30, 2004


It is estimated that America spends $13 billion a year on chocolate. However, in the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that this favorite American product is tainted with the labor of innocent young children.


The fact that child slaves are used in the harvesting of cocoa beans in Cote D'Ivoire, the world's major supplier of cocoa, is undisputed. The US State Department estimates that there are approximately 15,000 children working on cocoa, coffee, and cotton farms in the Cote D'Ivoire. In June 2001, the ILO also reported that trafficked child labor was used in cocoa production in West Africa. Media reports have unveiled stories about boys tricked or sold into slavery, some as young as nine years old, to work on cocoa plantations in Cote d'Ivoire. ILRF has verified these reports through our own independent investigations conducted in 2002 and 2003, and has interviewed children who have escaped from the cocoa plantations.


Cote d'Ivoire is the largest exporter of the world's cocoa beans, providing 43% of the world's supply. The US imports the majority of these cocoa beans, for use in chocolate candy, marketed by such top brands as M&M/Mars and Hershey.


The chocolate industry has acknowledged that child slaves are harvesting cocoa in Cote d'Ivoire. In response, in late 2001 the chocolate industry, as represented by the Chocolate Manufacturers' Association, proposed what is now commonly referred to as the Harkin-Engle Protocol. The Protocol calls for the development of industry-wide labor standards, and ultimately a voluntary-based system of corporate reporting, monitoring, and certification. It also provides for the creation of an industry-funded foundation that will oversee specific programs directed at alleviating child labor in the cocoa industry.


July 1, 2004 marks the two-year anniversary of the establishment of a Joint Foundation, and three years since the signing of the Harkin-Engle Protocol to eliminate the worst forms of child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa. Basically the Protocol has bought the industry three years of time before they must make good on their commitment to implement acceptable, voluntary, industry wide standards of public certification by July 1, 2005. With one year remaining, the industry has not made substantial progress toward this goal and the hope for a credible monitoring and certification system is diminishing.


On June 17, 2004, the chocolate and cocoa industry, at the request of Senator Tom Harkin, conducted a public briefing to provide a review progress made toward implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol and elimination of child labor in cocoa production in West Africa. Representatives from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association and the World Cocoa Foundation provided the formal briefing, and additional representatives from Hershey Foods and the International Cocoa Initiative were on hand to take questions from the audience. Child labor and fair trade advocates raised a number of questions about progress toward monitoring, certification and the elimination of child labor. Unfortunately, none of the representatives on hand were able to answer these fundamental questions.


------------------------------------------------------

There is more in this report on the above-mentioned link.


Blessings always for the children of Africa.
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:33 PM   #18
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I think it's rather of outrageous for you to question a person's faith based on the fact they may have a slightly different view of the effectiveness of fair trade than you.

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Old 02-12-2006, 07:34 PM   #19
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oh christ I doubt nbcrusader is turning his back on the world's poorest children or something...try not judging people while we're on the subject of "christian" values.

these kids are not working on cocoa plantations for the fun of it, you have to address the root cause which is the extreme poverty...and exploitation of workers/unfairly low wages are only one aspect of that problem.
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:13 PM   #20
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The following poem is dedicated to the estimated 40 million slave children world wide. The visualization for this poem is based upon the slave children of Africa who toil the cocoa fields picking beans. The beans are sold world-wide to various chocolate manufacturers. The poem expresses, of course, what the children visualize, blinding them the harshness of their true existence. Eventually this poem will be written into a song. The vocalists will be a chorus of children world-wide...perhaps maybe from UNICEF. This will be just a part of “Dance!Sing!Fun!” a 2002 World-Wide Children’s Charities Event.

WHAT THEY SEE

Should our eyes see the sunshine,
The fields all are green,
What appears are the flowers
dancing the wind.

Our mothers and fathers
speak with us now,
Telling their stories for us
children to hear.

Tomorrow is coming,
we will wait for the day.
The white bird called “freedom”
will fly us away.

To join once again our own families,
We’ll dance and we’ll sing again,
Like our fun memories.

Should our eyes see the moonlight,
The fields are now still,
What appears are the stars
twinklin’ on high.

Our mothers and fathers,
the angels above,
Will join in our prayers
as our heads are now bowed.

We’ll dream of tomorrow,
We’ll wait for that day.
The white bird called “freedom”
will fly us away.

We’ll join once again our own families,
We’ll dance and we’ll sing again,
In Love ever bound.

-----------------------

I wrote this 8/28/2001...........it is quite obvious the project never came to be.


carol
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