Let me start by confessing that I am a chocoholic. In fact, I think I might be THE chocoholic. A day is just not complete with out at least a little (or a lot) of chocolate. Chocolate makes so many things better.
There is a problem though that has been waging at me for a while and it isn’t that too much chocolate will make me fat. Most people have heard about it, it isn’t new news especially if you read blogs or are on social media, but for so long I was naive about it and I see many people are in that same boat, I see them writing things that I have said myself.
The problem is child labour/slave labour and unfair wages. Like I said, this is nothing new, what is new is my understanding of what that really means.
For ages I thought things like “Yes, child labour sucks, but if the family and child are desperate and starving then even if the wages aren’t exactly fair it is still some money for the family.” Oh how naive I was, looking at the issue through first world eyes that think of unfair wages as simply being below minimum wage. Despite growing up as an MK who is far from sheltered about how the world is, it wasn’t until I read Capturing Jasmina that my eyes were really opened to what words like “child labour” really mean and what is really happening around the world.
Most of these kids make no money at all so right there my previous assumptions of “some money is better than no money for the family” were refuted. A majority of these kids are trafficked, either promised a well paying job and a good life by lying adults, or kidnapped and brought into another country or area against their will. Either way they end up as slaves all for the sake of cheap chocolate.
All of the big brands are guilty of it and most are lying to cover it up. (Watch the Dark Side of Chocolate documentary)
I have seen how wrong I was. My eyes have been opened to the problem and now that I know, I am responsible. I can pretend that it doesn’t matter and in doing such continue supporting these traffickers and those who pay them, or I can take a stand, be it ever so small. I can say goodbye to my love of chocolate from companies like Cadbury (I don’t like Hershey chocolate at all – it tastes cheap and fake- so that goodbye isn’t a hard one, and Nestle is only ok tasting).
There are options I don’t have to feel guilty about, this doesn’t have to be goodbye to all chocolate. We have a great local shop just down the street that sells delicious fair trade brands like Endangered Species. They are better quality and no one was beaten or starved or taken from their families so that it could be made. It may mean that I pay a little more, but it is not really THAT much more. It means reading labels and finding out about the companies I am supporting when I buy their products.
We forget how rich we are. Yes, we may have a tight budget, or not be able to afford things our neighbours have. We might life in a small house and drive an oldish car, but compared to so many we are filthy rich and the way we spend our money makes a big difference.
So, now you have a choice to. If you read to the end of this post you know too. If you watch the documentary then you know. You have a responsibility now too. You can choose to turn away and pretend it isn’t happening or you can take a stand with me and many other and each of our tiny stands together will start to make a big stand.