Slavery in the Chocolate Industry: Plight of Children Used for Cocoa Farming

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Close to half of the worlds chocolate is made from the highly prized top-quality cocoa beans that are grown on farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, a small nation on the western side of Africa. The farmers of these poor nations are notorious, however, for sometimes relying on slaves to harvest their beans, The slaves are boys between 12 and 16 sometimes as young as 9 ~ who are kidnapped from villages in surrounding nations and sold to the cocoa farmers, who use whippings, beatings, and starvation to force the boys to do the hot, difficult work of clearing the fields, harvesting the beans, and drying them in the sun. The boys work from sunrise to sunset and are locked in at night in windowless rooms where they sleep on bare wooden…show more content…
Although slavery on farms is illegal in the lvory Coast, the law is rarely enforced. Open borders, a shortage of enforcement officers, and the willingness of local Officials to accept bribes from members of the slave trade, all contribute to the problem. ln addition, prices for cocoa beans have been declining in global markets since 1996. Between i996 and 2000, prices fell from 67 cents a pound to Sl cents, a decline of almost 25 percent and a decline that was dictated by global forces over which the farmers had no control. Stretched by such low prices, the already impoverished cocoa farmers turned to slavery to try to cut their labor coasts in an attempt to survive the downturn in the global market for cocoa beans. Chocolate is $l3 billion industry in the United States; in 2000 the U.S. imported a total of 627,000 tons of cocoa. The names of the four largest U.S. chocolate manufacturer’s all of whom use cocoa

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