Halloween and Valentine’s Day could have candy retailers salivating over loads of sweet-toothed tricker treaters and lovebirds purchasing boxes of chocolate truffles — but nothing quite comes even close to the candy Holy Grail that is Easter.
“In the week before Easter last year, Americans purchased $823 million in creme-filled eggs, chocolate rabbits additionally the colored marshmallow Peeps, according to Nielsen data,” as reported by CNBC. In terms of weight, Americans bought 146 million pounds of candy, or comparatively talking, the “weight of more than 11,000 African bush elephants.”
Needless to say, it is the biggest money-making week for the candy industry regarding the entire year — and chocolate product sales play a massive part in that.
According to the TheChocolateStore.com, “Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or over 11 pounds per person.”
That’s right. From Reese’s and Snickers to chocolate bunnies and fondue, we eat the weight of a hefty bowling ball in chocolate every single year. It’s no secret, Americans are cuckoo for all things cocoa.
But have you ever wondered where many of your favorite treats are coming from?
Though the chocolate company controversy happens to be widely circulated over the years, many people are nevertheless unaware that they are funding child slaves in western Africa by buying from all the major brands. The region that houses nearly two-thirds of all of the cacao beans in the world exploits young kiddies to work 80 to 100 hour days with no pay.
Huffington Post reported the following staggering statistics regarding the slave trade:
According to an investigative report by the BBC, hundreds of numerous of children are increasingly being bought from their parents or outright stolen and then shipped to Ivory Coast, where they are enslaved on cocoa farms. Destitute moms and dads in these poverty-stricken lands sell their children to traffickers believing that they can find honest work with Ivory Coast and send a number of their earnings home. The terrible reality is why these children, 11 to 16 years of age but often more youthful, are forced to do hard manual labor 80 to 100 hours a week. They are paid nothing, receive no education, are under fed and they are usually viciously beaten if they try to flee. Most will never ever see their families again.
So which chocolate bigwigs would be the culprits? The following are the organizations fabled for using this brutal youngster slave labor according to an article published by U.S. Uncut that has now been provided over 1 million times:
6. ADM Cocoa
7. Fowler’s Chocolate
While the list of these popular brands may be shocking and disappointing, this statement from certainly one of the freed youngster slaves may be simply sufficient to cramp your taste buds the next time you bite into that Milky Way or savor the flavor of your Almond Joy:
“They enjoy something we suffered to help make; we worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They truly are eating my flesh.”
Similar responses were recorded in the film Slavery: A Global Investigation, which interviewed kids who had broken free from the slave trade.
“The beatings were an integral part of my entire life,” said Aly Diabate, another freed slave. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you dropped while carrying them, no one assisted you. Instead, they beat you and beat you until you picked it again.”
The FDA attempted to pass a law back in 2001 that would enforce “slave free” labeling on candy wrappers, but the effective chocolate companies (namely Hershey, Mars, and Nestle) shut down the legislation with big business bucks by “promising” self-regulation. This “promise” was to stop all child slavery involved with their companies by 2005…and America is still waiting. That date is consistently pressed right back, while the goal is now 2020.
To make matters worse, the number of young ones involved in the chocolate slave trade has just proceeded to increase. It shot up by a staggering 51 percent from 2009 to 2014 alone.
By comparison, the following is just a list of companies whom are making an intentional effort to avoid taking advantage of the cruelty of son or daughter servant labor.
Newman’s Own Organics
Green and Black’s
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
Denman Island Chocolate
Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
Kailua Candy Company
The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
Rapunzel Pure Organics
Of course, it can’t be achieved alone, but the American consumer can contribute to making an improvement by deciding to purchase candy from many of these more ethically aware brands.