How the world’s favorite sweet continues to be produced with the sweat of African child slaves.
Chocolate, the world’s favorite sweet, has a bitter taste. Behind the commodity fetish of the Mars bar hides the unspeakable reality of thousands of children, some as young as 8 years old, being siphoned onto cocoa plantations by a vast international network of human traffickers — all under the watching eye of the global chocolate industry.
Subjected to heavy physical labor and inhumane working hours, these children are constantly exposed to pesticides, beaten and abused by their bosses, and never paid. They are among the 12 to 27 million victims of 21st century slavery.
Following a public uproar in 2001, triggered in part by the publication of a prize-winning report, “A Taste of Slavery: How Your Chocolate May be Tainted“, the great chocolate companies of the world — including Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Mars, Hershey’s, Nestle, Barry Callebaut and Saf-Cacao — moved quickly and successfully to forestall US government legislation of the industry. Instead, they signed a voluntary decree to eradicate child labor and slavery in the chocolate industry by 2005.
Unsurprisingly, the chocolate giants failed miserably. By 2005, another pledge was signed to eradicate cocoa slavery by 2008. When the targets were still not met in 2008, the deadline was moved to 2010. This is when journalists Miki Mistrati and U Roberto Romano jumped to action and did what all good journalists should be doing: they embarked upon a dangerous investigation deep into the heartland of cocoa production in the Ivory Coast.
This 46-minute documentary is their harrowing account of the slavery and child trafficking they encountered — as well as the corporate attempt to cover up the truth and deny the industry’s involvement or responsibility. Watch it. You will never look at your chocolate in the same way.