So we all know everyone loves chocolate. But do we know about the sacrifices and unfair treatment that is endured so that we may have the luxury of chocolate? We chose to follow the hands of the chocolate you eat at Easter and you won’t believe what we found…
- What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is about decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Many of these workers face injustices and exploitation, and Fairtrade is about helping these people improve their positions and helping them have more control of their lives. Fair trade provides workers with:
- A fair and stable price for their produce
- Security of long-term contracts
- Improved working conditions
- Environmentally sustainable farming methods
- Support in gaining knowledge and skills
- Child Labour
Fairtrade is a great solution to the problem of child and forced labour that shockingly, many popular companies use to produce their goods. Ever heard of sweatshops? This is an example of child and forced labour. It is the unjust and inhumane exploitation of other humans for the benefit of the rest of us at a cheaper price. These children or workers are forced into slave labour often to earn for their families however work in unsafe and often dangerous conditions for long hours at an extremely low rate; some are even trafficked. It is a pragmatic approach and definitely needs to be changed. Though we benefit from this, it has a detrimental effect on the other side especially on child workers who are affected physically and mentally as they are denied their childhood and education and are sometimes trafficked. By refusing to purchase items that resulted from forced labour, we discourage companies from this approach. Instead, we should support fairtrade. If a product or organisation is fairtrade, then they are committed to trying to eliminate all forms of child/forced labour as they recognise the rights that all humans were born with.
Just for you to picture what’s happening…
- There are around 168 million child labourers in the world; around half of them working in hazardous conditions.
- Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region with the highest incidence of child labour (59 million, over 21%).
- There are 13 million (8.8%) of children in child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean and in the Middle East and North Africa there are 9.2 million (8.4%).
- What can you do?
A global movement has been started to change the fact that people are being exploited instead of attending school. It is because these labourers work for such little pay that we have the choice to buy cheap chocolate. If we want to promote an equitable society, we have to be prepared to pay a little more to ensure what we buy has come from someone who is happy doing what they are. The movement tackles poverty, empowering producers through trade.
- When you choose your chocolate (especially at Easter), look for a label that shows the cocoa has been sourced ethically. This ensures it hasn’t come from the sweat and tears of vulnerable and innocent forced labourers.
- Talk to your family and friends about this issue (if you don’t know how to bring this up, simply give them some chocolate, tell them it’s fair-trade and everything you can remember from this page)!
- Which companies do and don’t use Fairtrade?
· Green and Black’s
So…. Be a good egg this Easter and stop buying chocolate that is not ethically sourced so that labourers can stop working for these bad companies… and the world will become a happier place!
By Bettina, Felice and Aisha