The following was originally published June 11, 2012 at
Chocolate: is it good or is it evil?

Dear chocoholic,

Imagine you are in a cocoa bean field peeling and cutting cocoa beans. Also, you are using a machete to cut the cocoa beans. You’re afraid of getting cut. You are walking around barefoot getting your feet burned on a really hot day. This is what most kids in West Africado for a living with no way out.

Did you know that many children were taken away from their homes in the Ivory Coastand were forced to work on cocoa farms? 75 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced by Ivory Coastand West African countries. Over two million children work on cocoa farms according to the CNN Freedom Project. The sad part about all of this is that they don’t even know what chocolate is or what it tastes like. Another example is in Zegoua village. A social worker revealed that in 2006 132 children were trafficked. Trafficking is when children are bought and sold.

All of these children must have felt helpless when they were taken away from their home. It probably had a big impact on them because they were separated from their families. They also carry big knives called machetes. They probably get hurt really badly but their owners don’t care. The owners only care that their “slaves” get the job done.

A suggested course of action against child labor is Reverse trick-or-treating. Reverse trick-or-treating is when kids go to different houses and give them what is called Fair Trade chocolate. Fair Trade chocolate is chocolate that was grown on a fair farm which does not use child labor. According to the article, Reverse Trick-or-Treaters, “Farmers are paid more with Fair Trade, so they don’t have to live on poverty and their children can get an education.” Valentine’s Day is a special day for many people. On Valentine’s Day many people buy and sell chocolate. I believe that sending a valentine to Hershey’s Companies is a good idea. It should say that kids shouldn’t be used for child labor and that they should use Fair Trade cocoa instead.

We should try to end child labor. What are you going to do next?

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