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Don't Trade Lives

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Don't Trade Lives

Post by shammy on Mon May 12, 2008 5:09 am

What is the Real Cost of Chocolate?

Your favourite chocolate bar might not taste so sweet when you consider that with each bite you are supporting an industry where children are forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions instead of going to school.

About 70% of the cocoa beans used to make chocolate around the world come from West Africa, with Ivory Coast and Ghana among the biggest producers.

The cocoa industry is built on the labour of poor farmers who grow the beans on small plots of land and sell their harvests to local middlemen.

Harvesting cocoa is intensive, back-breaking work. Cocoa prices have been declining in recent years, largely because of corruption and poor economic planning. To keep costs down, farmers traditionally use their children and other family members to help.

Criminal networks have been caught moving children across regions and international borders to work on cocoa farms. World Vision even learned of one trafficker who smuggled children into the Ivory Coast by faking a convoy of ambulances containing healthy children who were bandaged to fool authorities.

Today there are hundreds of thousands of children working on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast and Ghana. These cocoa children routinely carry heavy loads, and work with fire, chemicals and knives, with little or no protection. Many of them have no chance of going to school.

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