An article today in the Daily Vox begins: The truth about the chocolate industry might leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Indeed. The chocolate industry is a billion-dollar business, yet it is not one that is always just. Modern day slavery, especially child labor, is becoming a growing and serious issue. The Daily Vox explains that the product is produced form cacao beans that grow in hot, wet regions. Nearly 70% of the all chocolate in the world comes from West Africa. Côte d’Ivoire, the biggest producer in the world, accounts for more than 30%.
“In 2014 the total global retail value sales of chocolate was $100 billion. Many farmers and workers on cacao plantations, however, survive on just $1.25 – or R16,50 – a day.
Besides the usual tale of capitalism, there’s a darker side to chocolate production. Close to 1.8 million children in West Africa are used as labor – many of them trafficked to work on cacao farms as slaves.”
The article goes on to explain why child labor is so detrimental to children. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines it as as “work that deprives children of their childhood, dignity and potential; and is physically and mentally harmful to their development. It also often interferes with their schooling.”
Cacao harvesting spans the entire year, making it difficult for children to attend school.