Please buy only slavery free chocolate this Easter. That’s the message from ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) and a *coalition of social justice groups, in the days leading up to Easter Sunday April 16.
Australians will spend about $2 billion on chocolate this Easter and much of it will have been produced using child labour from West Africa. These children pick cocoa beans – a key ingredient used to make chocolate. Many of these children are forced to do this work.
ACRATH’s call is in line with the commitment made by the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council of NSW on Human Trafficking on March 28, to a programme directed to the eradication of human trafficking throughout the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The extensive program includes, as far as possible, only purchasing slavery-proofed products and services. ACRATH said Archbishop Fisher’s inspiring commitment was showing the lead to all Australian Catholic schools and parishes and beyond.
Tulane University’s 2013/2014 Survey Research on Child Labour in West African Cocoa Growing Areas found that 2.12 million children were working in child labour in cocoa production and 2.03 million children were working in hazardous work in cocoa production in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana combined. In Cote d’Ivoire the number of children in hazardous work in cocoa production increased by 46% (from 0.79 million to 1.15 million) between 2008/09 and 2013/14. In Ghana the number of children in hazardous work in cocoa production decreased by 6% (from 0.93 million to 0.88 million) between 2008/09 and 2013/14.
“Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.” Pope Frances 2015
But there is a way to use your buying power to support people in developing countries, at risk of being trafficked or forced to work for little or no pay. Buy only chocolate that carries a FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certification label showing that the cocoa beans used in the chocolate’s production have been sourced ethically, from farmers who engage in good labour practices.
Christine Carolan, the Executive Officer of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans), said buying slavery-free chocolate at Easter gave people the opportunity to take a stand against human trafficking and slavery.
“We know that some children, working in some of the cocoa farms in West Africa are trafficked. Many others work in dangerous conditions for little or no wages and cannot attend school,” Ms Carolan said.
A decade ago there was almost no slavery-free chocolate sold in Australia. The global movement, led by many groups in Australia, including ACRATH, has seen a dramatic increase in the availability of slavery-free chocolate for consumers.
ACRATH President Sr Noelene Simmons said people were often confused about where to find slavery-free chocolate. A guide to where it is available is now on the ACRATH website.
Sr Noelene applauded OXFAM, ALDI, Coles, Haighs, David Jones and Chocolatier for the range of slavery-free chocolate they have for sale this Easter.
To find out more about the campaign and slavery free chocolate please go to https://acrath.org.au/looking-for-slavery-free-easter-eggs/
ACRATH urges consumers this Easter to do five things:
- Buy only slavery free chocolate – use your buying power to take a stand.
- Eat only slavery free chocolate. If your local/favourite shop doesn’t sell slavery free chocolate then ask them to please start stocking it.
- Find out about cocoa bean production and the plight of many children in chocolate production.
- Thank the managers of stores that are stocking slavery-free chocolate this Easter.
- Discuss your slavery-free chocolate decision with five other people to help spread the word.
What to Look for
Slavery-free chocolate carries one of these three labels – FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified. This shows that the cocoa beans used in the chocolate’s production have been sourced ethically, from farmers who engage in good labour practices.
* Slavery-Free Easter Chocolate Campaign coalition members include ACRATH – Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans, CARITAS Australia – Archdiocese of Melbourne, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat – Social Justice Commission, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne – Office for Justice and Peace, Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst – Social Justice Committee, Uniting Church in Australia – Synod of Victoria & Tasmania, Victorian Council of Churches – Social Questions Commission.