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Almost two decades after US chocolate giants pledged to eradicate child slave labor from their supply chains, the industry still seems to be addicted to the cost efficiency resulting from the modern version of slavery.
Cocoa beans are an essential component for producing chocolate. Most of those imported into the US come from just two countries, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) and Ghana. A series of exposes in 2000 and 2001 shed light on the widespread use of child labor by cocoa growers there, including trafficked children held in debt bondage.
The US food industry pledged to eradicate child labor from its supply chain, but has repeatedly failed to deliver.
Modern international trade is to a large degree built on slavery, and the difference with the slave plantations of the past is only that it is no longer done in the open, said Terry FitzPatrick, communications director for the organization Free The Slaves.
The only way to deal with this problem is to make slavery economically unsustainable, he believes.
“Corporations should be not just transparent on whether there might be modern slavery or forced labor in their product,” he told RT. “They need to be responsible for that. Because once they are responsible for that and liable for that, they will be forced to get rid of it.”