About this sample
About this sample
Words: 566 |
3 min read
Published: Aug 31, 2023
Words: 566|Page: 1|3 min read
Numerous renowned chocolate brands have established themselves in Europe, such as Italy's Ferrero Rocher and Switzerland's Lindt. These brands are visible worldwide, found in gas stations, airports, and shopping malls, boasting high market values and annual profits due to their cost-effective supply. The limited supply of cocoa beans may stem from the low plantation and labor costs in African nations. The documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate sheds light on child labor and trafficking occurring in Cote d'Ivoire, unbeknownst to both the government of Cote d'Ivoire and European companies.
In my view, the persistence of this issue in the chocolate industry, despite its exposure through media, is attributed to the apathy of most people in the Western World towards the living conditions of African children. Capitalists remain indifferent, focusing solely on their interests, while consumers are unable to effect change. As stated by the cocoa factory owner in the film, the absence of chocolate would be catastrophic. Where chocolate exists, so does child labor and smuggling. Research indicates an average of 4.5 children per African woman, often due to limited contraception. Driven by poverty and the inability to afford education, these children, some as young as 10, are forced into labor. Young children lack the capacity to differentiate right from wrong, making them easy targets for traffickers who sell them to cocoa plantations for as little as €230. Once taken across borders, they lose communication, go unpaid, and are deprived of the chance to return home. The inadequate law enforcement in Africa and the inaccessibility of national organizations leave their rights unprotected. Thus, despite media exposure, the government of Cote d'Ivoire and the chocolate industry's capitalists turn a blind eye, refusing to bring about change.
Upon viewing this documentary, I now comprehend the journey of a chocolate bar from Africa to a vending machine at Fanshawe campus. Human trafficking isn't exclusive to Africa but prevails in South America, even Canada. Instances of 'slaves' in South American coffee bean plantations, drug factories in Central America and Southeast Asia, and coal mines in China are evident. Canada faces sex exploitation as a primary form of human trafficking, according to research from the Public Safety Canada website. Nevertheless, the food industry witnesses a majority of human trafficking due to reduced labor costs. Illegally exploited laborers experience unpaid work and unjust treatment, facilitated by the globalization of the food industry. Western nations procure raw materials from Third World countries to cut expenses. For instance, cocoa beans from Cote d'Ivoire are sold at €1 per kilogram. These Third World countries, driven by profit, engage in illegal cost-cutting, including the purchase of child labor. Government complicity often stems from national poverty, with influential individuals involved in the industry within the government. As a result, instigating change is no straightforward task.
While we cannot cease consuming chocolate, we can opt for brands with ethically sound production practices. Exploring domestic brands that boast transparent supply chains and avoiding problematic European brands can pave the way for change. With time, the darkness of human trafficking in Africa can be illuminated, if not eradicated.
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