The Dark Side of Chocolate

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and about 70% of coco beans come from Ghana and the Ivory Coast in Africa. Coco bean plantations where it is grown and harvested have historically relied on child, slave labor to harvest those coco beans so that you and I can eat a product many of them have never tasted. As told by Food Is Power, the reality of human trafficking and modern slavery to produce chocolate is a true evil of our time:

“Every research study ever conducted in [Western Africa] shows that there is human trafficking going on, particularly in the Ivory Coast.” While the term “slavery” has a variety of historical contexts, slavery in the cocoa industry involves the same core human rights violations as other forms of slavery throughout the world. Cases often involve acts of physical violence, such as being whipped for working slowly or trying to escape. Reporters have also documented cases where children and adults were locked in at night to prevent them from escaping. Former cocoa slave Aly Diabate told reporters, “The beatings were a part of my life. I had seen others who tried to escape. When they tried, they were severely beaten.” Drissa, a recently freed slave who had never even tasted chocolate, experienced similar circumstances. When asked what he would tell people who eat chocolate made from slave labor, he replied that they enjoyed something that he suffered to make, adding, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”

(From The Evil Part of Halloween You Probably Didn’t Think Of, by B.J.Corey)

Happy Halloween.

Categories: Committing Sociology, Visual Sociology

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