so i've been doing some surfing on the web -- and while i've heard of child slave labor in regard to chocolate production sadly i'm only now just realizing what that entails -- my son told me that he cannot eat chocolate without knowing where it's from -- he's got one on his mom but i'm with him now --
i just never thought it would be the brands i eat -- not american chocolate -- i was wrong
he told me that yesterday fwiw --
I have never heard of those brands. They certainly are not readily available.
if anyone is interested, the washington post has a lengthy article on the latest -- in '01 there was an agreement between a lot of companies including mars, hershey's, nestle's etc. to stop this child slave labor -- it hasn't happened -- for ex. the choco industry makes about $103 billion a year -- the companies put in about $7,000 a year toward the goal of saving the children -- they put in $15 mil over fifteen years --
you have to sign up to the washington post to read it -- it is free for four weeks -- but you can cancel before they charge you --
true, lynne -- i mean it's against ivory coast law but even so some of these kids are sold by their parents who live in a bordering impoverished country -- there are no repurcussions for this so it continues --
none of the big companies will confirm that cocoa pods & trees macheted down by child slave labor have not been used in making their products -- i'm done --
i know those brands are brand new to me too -- but that's how broad the problem, and the word problem seems too small to be effective --that's how wide is the horror of the cocoa industry --
i'll ask my son where he gets his chocolate
please ignore my $7,000 figure up there -- ok let me quote the article so i get it right:
'Too little, too late'
The world’s chocolate companies have missed deadlines to uproot child labor from their cocoa supply chains in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Next year, they face another target date and, industry officials indicate, they probably will miss that, too.
As a result, the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor.
About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa where, according to a 2015 U.S. Labor Department report, more than 2 million children were engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions.
When asked this spring, representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child labor.
“I’m not going to make those claims,” an executive at one of the large chocolate companies said.
One reason is that nearly 20 years after pledging to eradicate child labor, chocolate companies still cannot identify the farms where all their cocoa comes from, let alone whether child labor was used in producing it. Mars, maker of M&M’s and Milky Way, can trace only 24 percent of its cocoa back to farms; Hershey, the maker of Kisses and Reese’s, less than half; Nestlé can trace 49 percent of its global cocoa supply to farms...
In all, the industry, which collects an estimated $103 billion in sales annually, has spent more than $150 million over 18 years to address the issue...
Today, McCoy said, the companies “have made major strides,” including building schools, supporting agricultural cooperatives and advising farmers on better production methods...
Their most prominent effort — buying cocoa that has been “certified” for ethical business practices by third-party groups such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, has been weakened by a lack of rigorous enforcement of child labor rules. Typically, the third-party inspectors are required to visit fewer than 10 percent of cocoa farms.
“The companies have always done just enough so that if there were any media attention, they could say, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’re doing,’ ” said Antonie Fountain, managing director of the Voice Network, an umbrella group seeking to end child labor in the cocoa industry. “It’s always been too little, too late. It still is.”
one last thing from the article,
"Timothy S. McCoy, a vice president of the World Cocoa Foundation, a Washington-based trade group, said that when the industry signed onto the 2001 agreement, “the real magnitude of child labor in the cocoa supply chain and how to address the phenomenon were poorly understood.”
i call bullsh*t that they "poorly understood" the real magnitude --
he said most chocolate marked "single origin" from south america should be ok --
Look my dear Boss, I worked as a missionary in the Peruvian Andes for several years. Part of our missionary duties was running a school for the poorest among the poorest children in the city. God's providence was generous thru countless benefactors (we will not take a penny from the government!). The mission will provide all school supplies, uniforms and transportation. Absolutely free education and at least two meals per day, also a safe environment for the children to take a shower and all the cleaning supplies they need, from toothbrushes to deodorant. We will stay after hours providing homework assistance. All children will take part in workshops to learn to cook, knit, sewing, ceramics and other crafts at professional level. We kept a dentist and two psychologists in site all day long. During the school year we will lose dozens of children, because they have to work. I visited their homes, talk to their parents (those lucky ones who had parents... most of them did not!) trying to convince them. Their poverty was such, that their only hope of not dying of starvation was that 8-year-old child selling avocados in the city market. That child has to choose between work or die. Many left the school voluntarily, as they could not concentrate in the classes, many did not even find them interesting after spending years making money in the streets. I cry as I write, remembering the faces of those children the day they left the school. My heart will never mend. Child labor is a tragedy AND IS EVERYWHERE! Chocolate is a grain of sand in the midst of the ocean of poverty induced child exploitation.
You are so right Regina. Child labour is rampant worldwide. And extremely difficult to track and stop. Ikea stopped selling marble because they couldn’t be sure that the marble producers weren’t exploiting children. And as you say, it’s so widespread, there probably isn’t a industry where there’s not some involvement. :o(
i will only partake of fairly traded non-slavery produced choco forever more --
y'all have heard the starfish story i'm sure -- so i can't necessarily prevent or reduce child slave labor like the billion dollar chocolate industry could, but i won't buy or eat those products any.more. -- the first time i heard about this -- it said they some farmers cut the feet of the children so they can't run away -- i never dreamed it could be american chocolatiers --
Now Boss, are you sure that starfish survived longer than the others? Probably, there was a shark, right away waiting for it to be thrown into the water. The evil in the world is unbearable, unimaginable.
I devoted all those painful years, to the expense of my own health and that of my family, which I put in the backburner to the point that my youngest daughter got malnourished in front of my eyes... Only then we realized God was calling us to come back to the US, to a different mission.... I do not believe in boycotting. When you boycott, you are not affecting the big fish, you are chocking the little ones... Or do you really think the big fish will cut income for the little ones to have enough? If they do not have "enough", the working conditions for those in the lower scale will get worst and worst!
I realized that the best I could do was to do something for them, not stop doing it. I got involved. More than 10 years ago, we left our comfort life, our promising careers, the opportunity to fulfill our American dream, and we became poor among the poor. I embraced those children as my own, I cried and laughed with them. I shared their humble food, their loving smiles as well as their miseries. I hugged them and kissed their boo-boos, I clipped their nails, I cleaned their toilets and did thousands of dishes, often with my own child hanging on my back. I pray for them every single day and for the rest of the missionary families, sisters and priests that are still there, fighting the good fight....Being human torches for those children.
Look around Boss, and be (or keep being) that light to someone. Blowing a candle only creates more darkness. And trust me, in this world the darkness, unfortunately, is plenty!
reggie, thank you for your words of wisdom and for your dedicated years on the mission field --
the thing about the choco!ate is that I'm choosing to not be a part of that -- i would characterize it as a divorce rather than a boycott -- there is very little that any of us can change for others but at least the star fish placed in the water gets another chance, that's all --
some day when I meet one of those young men i will be happy to say hello --
it makes a difference to me ~
Boss, if that decision gives you peace of mind, go ahead. I like the fact that you are not openly supporting a boycott, but simply a different and safer path.
I, like you, hope to see one of those star fishes I put in the water, many years ago in Peru, and praise Our Lord for allowing me to be a channel for His grace and mercy to touch many souls.
The darkness seems to win... we have to stand our ground... and make a difference in the way that better fits us! Our Lord will do the rest!
Be safe in the midst of this icy mess!
Thanks for this edifying chat! Let me know if you want me to pass the YouTube channel of the mission...have a tissue box by your side!
I hope you get to hear some, even many many, star fish stories before too long --
my take away from your earlier post: no wonder your first born wants to serve the LORD!
I have a wonderful one! I'll tell you in a min. -- it has an interesting deja vu-ish post script kind of thing -- and I'd love to see your video!
We think of child labor as horrible. In countries where labor laws don't exist families rely on every member in a family to work. When labor laws don't exist, Companies mistreat workers. I It would be great if our government would get involved. We should do some research and see what we can do to increase offer education and improve conditions. Without government backing child labor will still exist. that's just my opinion. but I'm really willing to see what I can do to change the labor laws in developing countries.
true what you said littlejewel, I agree --
this however is not a family business -- in fact in some cases, the families are the ones selling their offspring!
the link for the article i read is in post #5 of this thread -- if anyone wants to, you can sign up for four weeks of free washington post, gotta use a credit card -- then go back and cancel right away and you won't be billed --
there's pictures of the young men -- a 15 yr old who has been separated from his family while working in the cocoa fields for five years -- no, just no --
I think we could also start with the chocolate companies who already promised to help -- less than a million a year spent out of a one hundred billion dollar a year industry -- think they could ramp that up a bit?
here's part one of my sparkling star fish story:
forty years ago, i was visiting my former church from out of town -- and I just chose a random sunday school class to attend because when i was a member there i taught ss so it was a treat to be still and quiet and let someone else do the driving --
that day, the class started with one of the members being introduced as the speaker in order to give his testimony as to how he became a Christian -- I don't think the regular teacher was even there at all and I was a little disappointed but oh well testimonies are ok besides I didn't know where any of the other classes might be and it would be rude to leave --
so they said he was a real go getter for the church involved in many supportive ways, faithful, well respected -- hit the ground running, as they always liked to say -- as he's telling his tale he says, "I was one of the biggest dope dealers in this town." (what? I'm thinking, this is getting good!) -- he paused for a moment and then said, " No that's not really right, (geez I'm thinking, I hope not!) he says, "at that time I was the biggest dope dealer in this town." he said, " I was the #1 dope dealer" -- whoa!
I was all ears and he went on to explain that he had prayed with a college student who had come by his house and his life changed exceedingly --
wow cool -- I wound up picking a great class -- it was actually the best testimony I ever heard because lo and behold I was the one who had led him to the LORD --
besides me teaching I also captained a bus route for the church and I visited my little flock every saturday with my dear friend, maxine -- one day, someone told me they were concerned about a family member, an underage girl who was living with an older guy -- yoiks -- I said, find out where she lives and I'll visit her for you -- I only got to speak to the young lady once but on one of the following times that I knocked on her door, her boyfriend answered and by the grace of God he bowed his head with me that day and asked Jesus into his heart -- yep, he is the future sunday school speaker --
so can you imagine me sitting in that class nearly busting open as it dawns on me that holey moley, I know that guy! it was moi that led him to the LORD that day! -- I introduced myself to him after church and that was the last i ever heard from him --
the rest of the story -- tbc...
reggie, wow — great videos! I watched the first two and the last two — so much poverty yes and so much dedication — beautiful learning atmosphere the mission created — what an amazing school and all the vocational ‘hands on’ tools to give some of them a hand up! so we’ll done —
the rest of the story —
starfish story part two:
interesting little twist -- we ‘met’ twice over an audience — all in the family
Kate and Anna, both of you are a true inspiration, and I admire you so much.
thank you, sandra --
did you get ice? ours is thawing now but it was like aerial bombardment for a while! we have two huge oak trees and they couldn't hold the weight of the ice! BUT thanks be to God our power never went out!
You see Boss, nothing in this life is coincidence, the plan for the salvation of every soul has been layout...But we are stubborn, we want to proof ourselves, create our own agenda... and drive all our precious soul the way to the precipice!
As hard as those years were, I truly got to see the face of Our Suffering Lord in every child, every mother, every missionary. I can say I did not convert anyone, they for sure converted me.
Oh thanks Sandra, we all have stories to share... I'm pretty sure you have some good ones! I know you are surrounded by furry starfishes!
No ice for Central NJ, but we had sooooo many icy messes while in KS, that I'm thankful for the weather here... covid also is getting back to baseline!
Take care sweet ladies...The storm will pass, and we will see the light soon!
No -K8, we really dodged a bullet. It rained steadily for two or three days, but died down to a fine mist by the time the temp dropped to freezing. I was terrified, remembering the ice storm of 1994. Middle Tennessee, with the epicenter being Cheatham County (where I live), was completely flattened. There was hardly a power pole left standing in the whole county. Some people were without power for a month.
Reggis, I've always tried to be the best person I could be, but the only lives I know that I've benefited are the four legged kind.
sandra, yes '94 was horrible -- I didn't realize your county was the epicenter -- ouch! I'm glad this one missed you!