Easter cards warn: Cocoa could be harvested by child slaves
A campaign from CHA asks people to be mindful of who made the sweet treats they buy this Easter, and to purchase responsibly. Many chocolatiers use cocoa harvested by child laborers. Choosing certified "fair trade" chocolate helps ensure that children were not exploited in the production of the goodies.
To build awareness of the potential issues surrounding cocoa production, CHA has created an "Easter card" — about the same size as a traditional greeting card — that asks on the front "How 'bad' can a chocolate bunny be?" The inside of the card urges consumers to remember at Eastertime the "plight of children who toil to bring us the chocolate we love" and to "consider actions we can take to help bring about change."
The card explains that many thousands of children in West Africa are forced into labor to produce cocoa, which is chocolate's primary ingredient. The U.S. Department of State estimates more than 109,000 children on the Ivory Coast in West Africa work under what the department calls the worst forms of child labor. An estimated 10,000 children involved in cocoa production are human trafficking victims or slaves. The Easter card provides web links for more information.
The card says that people can oppose this form of child exploitation by asking stores to stock "fair trade" chocolate — that is, chocolate that the organization Fair Trade USA has certified as not having been produced using slave and child labor. (Fair Trade also certifies that indigenous farmers have been paid a fair price.) People also can help by praying for the children who are being exploited; and they can inform people they know about the issue of child labor in cocoa production, the Easter card says.
CHA members can order the card on the Human Trafficking section of the association's website at chausa.org/human-trafficking. The card is free to association members. Catholic health care providers can provide the card to employees and others as an awareness-building tool.
Copyright © 2014 by the Catholic Health Association
of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby
or call (314) 253-3477.