Most of us look forward to chocolate at this time of year, however, before we all get cracking on Easter celebrations, let’s consider the global supply chain – from cocoa farming to the Easter eggs we buy for our loved ones, and choose to enjoy chocolate which is produced fairly without exploitation of others.
Chocolate and Human trafficking
Most of the chocolate we buy is produced from cocoa grown in West Africa where farmers can earn less than $2 a day. This in turn can result in farmers resorting to child labour and slavery to keep their prices competitive in the global market. This drive to keep cocoa prices low is fuelled by multinational companies and consumer’s desire and expectation of low cost chocolate. In the West, chocolate has become a low cost everyday item, often produced at the expense of other humans.
Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. It is a crime which violates human rights. Thousands of children are trafficked to harvest cocoa beans. Children as young as 5 are forced to work long hours, in dangerous conditions with no pay and no access to education. Impoverished families in Ivory Coast, West Africa can be duped by traffickers into believing their children will earn money and receive education if they work on cocoa farms, some children are abducted from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso and Mali- two of the poorest countries in the world. Some children will never see their families again.
What is being done to combat child labour and human trafficking in chocolate production?
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) works in partnerships with multinational companies aiming to combat the worst forms of child labour. Whilst many of the major chocolate manufactures are working towards combating trafficking and child labour in the supply chain, only a small percentage of products have a guarantee that the chocolate is fairly produced without human trafficking and child labour.
What we can do here in Donegal ?
Join the campaign to put pressure on chocolate manufacturers to guarantee all chocolate is fairly produced, and find out where in Donegal you can buy chocolate such as “Fair trade”- visit WWW.stopthetraffik.org
Human Trafficking is a crime which can take place anywhere, including areas such as Donegal, where recent arrests were made following reports of human trafficking and labour exploitation here Letterkenny.
We all have a role to play in being alert to the possibility of trafficking crimes and to report any concerns to Crimestoppers: Tel: 1800 25 00 25, E-mail: Blueblindfold@garda.ie, www.blueblindfold.gov.ie.
The most common forms of trafficking are for: sexual exploitation and forced labour.
Some of the barriers to potential victims of trafficking escaping :
- Not knowing how to access help
- Fear of retaliation by the traffickers to the victim or their family back in their home country.
- Fear of deportation due to undocumented migrant status or passports/documents being withheld from the victims by traffickers or others.
- No English- victims may have little or no knowledge of the local language.
Some of the signs of human trafficking- (for further info. see www.blueblindfold.gov.ie):
- Women or men living in groups in poor conditions and working very long hours.
- Women or men dependent on their employer for all their basic needs such as food, accommodation and transport.
- Women or men living in the same place as they are working.
In The Long Run :- Ending human trafficking ‘one step at a time’
“In the Long run” is a Belgian based Oasis project, where a team of runners, who have travelled over 1,000km along a major international human trafficking route, aim to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking, and provide information to communities about the issue of human trafficking.
The Donegal Anti Human Trafficking Group is welcoming the “In the Long Run” team to Letterkenny on 30th March 2016. Donegal YouthCouncil will be hosting an event and have invited the “In the Long Run” team to highlight the human trafficking issue.
This feature was written by Catherine Brown as part of our Women’s Lives series to raise awareness to the local and global crime that is human trafficking.