The West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire alone grows 40% of the global supply of cocoa, with Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria being the other major producers in the region and making 70% of the world's cocoa. Cocoa farmers typically live in poverty, and, as a result, instances of forced labor, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labor are found too often on cocoa farms in West Africa. Children are frequently involved in weeding, plucking cocoa pods, gathering and heaping cocoa pods, and other cocoa growing activities. 15 percent of children surveyed reported forced or involuntary work in the past twelve months. In addition, nearly 50 percent of children working in cocoa farming in Cote d’Ivoire and over 50 percent in Ghana reported injuries from their work in the past year.
REcently, the U.S. Department of Labor List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/programs/ocft/tvpra.htm">http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/programs/ocft/tvpra.htm) found that cocoa from five West African nations was tainted by forced and/or abusive child labor.
Fair Trade chocolate, however, fights child labor and the extreme poverty and exploitation of cocoa workers by lifting farmers out of poverty, paying them a fair wage, and protecting children from harmful working conditions on cocoa farms.
Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, and Emeril Lagasse are four of the most prominent celebrity chefs in America. We're asking these chefs to make recipes using Fair Trade certified chocolate. It would be a tiny effort for them, but a huge impact on the fight against child slavery in the cocoa industry.
As you may know, child labor, trafficking, and forced labor problems and other abuses are rampant in the cocoa industry. Over 70% of the world's cocoa comes from countries with serious child labor abuses, making the chances that traditional chocolate is contaminated with child labor, trafficking, and forced labor high.
Fair Trade certified chocolate, on the other hand, gives farmers a fair wage and helps prevent child labor, trafficking, and forced labor in the cocoa industry.
As a celebrity and acclaimed chef, you have tremendous power to support an end to these abuses in the cocoa industry by using high-quality, Fair Trade certified chocolate in a recipe.
Some suggestions for how you can support Fair Trade certified chocolate are:
Making Fair Trade recipes on your television show or through a website video;
Posting a recipe for Fair Trade chocolate dishes on your website;
Making a supportive statement or quote about Fair Trade chocolate, or recommending people use Fair Trade certified chocolate in your recipes
Thank you for helping end child labor, trafficking, and forced labor problems in Africa.