Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry By Maggie Dunn Period One

Their Lead

"Chocolate is a product if the cacao bean, which grows primarily in the tropical climates of Western Africa, Asia and Latin America."

This is an example of a Single Item Lead.

My Lead

Everyday, 1.8 million children slave away to make the world's most craved product: chocolate.

This is an example of a Creative Lead


Children on chocolate farms are often unjustly treated by the farm owners. They are given cheap food and sleep on wooden planks in small, windowless rooms with often no access to sanitary bathrooms. Despite attempts by programs such as the International Labor Rights Forum, children as young as 5 years old work everyday to make ends meat for their families.

"The beatings were a part of my life. I had seen others who tried to escape. When they tried they were severely beaten." -Former slave Aly Diabate


Child labor and even slavery have been a constant issue in areas like the Ivory Coast. Children use chainsaws and machetes every day in violation of International Labor Laws. Many of the 1.8 million children have scars from these dangerous tools. In addition to the weapons, children as young as 10 are exposed to agricultural chemicals without ant protective clothing.

"When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh." -Former slave Drissa


Child labor has always been an issue on the farms and the industry has always been relatively secretive. In 2004, the Ivorian First Lady was allegedly responsible for kidnapping and then killing a journalist reporting on the subject of child labor. In 2010, the government detained 3 other journalists after they published an article about the topic. Child labor is no new thing to Western Africa.


Although this is an issue all across the globe, it is the most sever in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.


There are many reasons why a farm may choose to use child labor but a big reason is money. The average pay for an adult chocolate farm worker is $2 a day, well below the poverty line. Children are willing to work for less money and also do more of the jobs that adults won't do. Children are also sometimes sold into slavery by their families to make extra money.


Although many large chocolate industries have the money and power to stop the children's suffering by giving the farm owners more money, they actively choose not to. An organization called the International Labor Rights Forum is taking steps to stop child labor and slavery. They have tried to address the situation but with out the support of the chocolate industry, their mission is a difficult feat.

"Every research study ever conducted in West Africa shows that there is human trafficking going on, especially in the Ivory Coast." -Abby Mills, ILRF

Their concluding statement:

"Multiple government and NGO programs have been developed, attempting to address the root causes of child labor and slavery in West Africa."

My concluding statement:

Many organizations are trying to stop the use of child labor and slavery but it is an uphill battle without the support of the chocolate industry.

Created By
Maggie Dunn


Created with images by Daria-Yakovleva - "coffee chocolate cinnamon" • ArmyAmber - "girl afghani person alone" • TanteTati - "schogetten chocolate sweet" • Meditations - "abstract aperture body" • SEDACMaps - "Ivory Coast: Population Density, 2000" • stevendepolo - "Handcuffed Girls Qiqi Lourdie December 05, 20104" • skeeze - "chocolate bar chocolate milk"

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