“There may be a hidden ingredient in the chocolate cake you baked, the candy bars you sold for your school fund-raiser, or that fudge-ripple ice cream cone you enjoyed on Saturday afternoon”, says Sudarsan Raghavan and Sumana Chatterjee Knight Ridder Newspapers Reporters. The truth behind the chocolate is anything but sweet. On the Ivory Coast of Africa, the origin of nearly half of the world’s cocoa, hundreds of thousands of children work or are enslaved on cocoa farms. With poverty running rampant and average cocoa revenues ranging from $30-$108 per household member per year, producers have no choice but to utilize child labor for dangerous farming tasks. Some children, seeking to help their poor families, even end up as slaves on cocoa farms far from home. Slavery drags on and we are paying the slaveholder’s wages.
Slave labor. Forty-three percent of the world’s cocoa beans, the raw material in chocolate, come from small, scattered farms in this poor West African country of Ivory Coast. In addition, on some farms, boys sold or tricked into slavery do the hot, hard work of harvesting the fruit.” (The Inquirer) Most are between 12 and 16; some are as young as nine. Many are lured from their hometowns with the promise of good-paying jobs, taken to Ivory Coast, and sold by traffickers to farmers for less than $50. The boy, pictured here, is an ex-slave; he escaped to freedom, and to share his story.What is it really like for a child caught up in the world of chocolate trafficking? Distinguished children’s author Bob Hartman has written a special story for STOP THE TRAFFIK telling the story of one little boy who discovers that his dream of earning a living and supporting his family can become a nightmare when he falls into the clutches of the traffickers.
Suitable for reading aloud, for children to read themselves, or for printing out and distributing to classes and youth groups, Chaga and the Chocolate factory is available free for you to download as a 14 page illustrated PDF e-book.
Simply click the link below to join Chaga’s adventure … and learn more about how we can all work together to ensure many more real life “Chaga” stories have happier endings.
Chaga and the Chocolate Factory
File size: 768kb
To download right click the on the blue text and select ‘Save Target As …’. You will need Adobe Acrobat, which you can download for free from the Adobe web site.