Let’s face it. There are a lot of things in this world that need to be fixed! Only sometimes the problems seem so big I have no idea how I can make a difference. I donate, I volunteer, but lately I’ve come to understand that the biggest impact I can make is being a conscientious consumer. I really should know where my food, clothing, and everyday purchases come from because I could be contributing to the very same problems I want to help solve.
Here’s the thing. Valentine’s Day is coming. I LOVE Valentine’s Day! I LOVE chocolate! Recently, I did a little research as to where my chocolate comes from. I didn’t like what I read. I didn’t like what I saw. In fact, it brought me to tears.
Seven to fifteen-year-old children being taken from their homes, beaten, given machetes and told to work all day for free. It turns out the major manufacturers of chocolate knew about this and signed The Harkin-Engel Protocol way back in 2001. The agreement stated that child labor and the trafficking of children would be prohibited after 2008. So they all agreed child labor (and trafficking) was okay and that they would eventually get rid of it. How is child slavery ever okay? There were no leaders willing to stand up for children—willing to do what’s right? Disgusting! Ask any teacher what’s more important billions of dollars or a child’s life. Yeah, it makes me really sad especially because it’s still going on today. Signing that agreement didn’t abolish child trafficking or slavery. There are still children with machetes in their hands instead of books. We can do better.
I care. I know you do too. So, here’s how we can help. It’s easy. Buy fair trade chocolate. It’s in grocery stores and online. Look for the Fair trade symbol. Include a fair trade chocolate in your selfies on Instagram! Convince your friends to buy fair trade. Let everyone know! When we show that we care about these children, then the chocolate manufacturers will care too.
If you want to learn more check out: The Dark Side of Chocolate and The Shady Side of Chocolate by Miki Mistrati.