Everyone loves chocolates. We consume more than 3 million tons a year. With Halloween right around the corner and every store shelf lined with chocolates to honor the occasion, consider the fact that 200,000 children in West Africa work under forced labor conditions on cocoa farms to help produce those chocolates we pass out that day, according to the United Nation’s Children’s Fund.
More than 40 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast, a country in West Africa. Kids as young as seven years old work illegally in the plantations where they face dangerous jobs such as cutting down the cocoa and carrying heavy loads. Some are victims of child trafficking and most of the kids are never paid.
Fair Trade chocolate provides an alternative. Again this year, Global Exchange is offering its specially designed “trick-or-treat kits” that include individually wrapped, bite-sized chocolates, colorful postcards about Fair Trade for your trick-or-treaters, traditional “Day of the Dead” streamer decorations handmade by artisans in Mexico, and more. You can find details on the “Action Kit” here.
By offering fair trade chocolate, you can be assured that your candy purchase supports cocoa workers and does not employ child labor. Fair Trade ensures that farmers and workers received a fair minimum price for their product, helping them support their families and send their children to school rather than into the field. Most Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate sold in the United States is also certified organic and shade-grown, which helps maintain the biodiversity of cocoa-cultivating ecosystems, provides shelter for migratory birds, and uses less energy than conventional farming.
“Halloween is an opportune time to educate children about Fair Trade and efforts to end child slavery around the world,” says Tex Dworkin, Fair Trade online store manager for Global Exchange. “Last year, we sold out of our first run of Halloween chocolate in three days. Consumers proved that when given a choice, they would make the right one, choosing Fair Trade chocolate for trick-or-treaters.”
Let’s raise the bar this year and make sure the only spooky things we see this Halloween are the cute spooky costumers the kids are wearing!
-Megy Karydes, Founder