Chocolate and Slavery | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

There is a surprising association between chocolate and child labor in the Cote d'Ivoire. Young boys whose ages range from 12 to 16 have been sold into slave labor and are forced to work in cocoa farms in order to harvest the beans, from which chocolate is made, under inhumane conditions and extreme abuse. This West African country is the leading exporter of cocoa beans to the world market. Thus, the existence of slave labor is relevant to the entire international economic community. Through trade relations, many actors are inevitably implicated in this problem, whether it is the Ivorian government, the farmers, the American or European chocolate manufacturers, or consumers who unknowingly buy chocolate. Discussions have arisen regarding how to respond to the problem. Issues mentioned include causes of slave labor relating to the economic system and to the country's dependence on an unstable export crop. There are also debates concerning the appropriate response from the chocolate industry, government officials, and consumers concerning whether there should be boycotting, establishment of government legislation to put "made by slaves" labels on products, or whether some type of international cooperation is needed to ensure improved working conditions. The complexity of the problem makes finding an effective solution a challenging task......