I am ashamed to write this post. I learned about an atrocity last year, was moved, but did nothing about it. Lately every time I bite into a piece of chocolate the Lord reminds me of my silence, and the irony of my enjoyment.
There have been approximately 15,000 children trafficked into slavery on cocoa farms in Cote D'Ivoire. These children live in inhumane conditions, are nearly starved, and beaten so that they can harvest their owner's cocoa crops. Cote D'Ivoire is the world's largest exporter of cocoa beans, and the United States is the largest importer. So Americans are pleasuring themselves at the expense of a little boy's childhood.
I could continue to write but instead I will post some resources:
From the International Justice Mission (look under "Slavery: Fact Sheet")
- What are the facts?
• According to the United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, an estimated 20 million people were held in bonded slavery as of 1999.
• In 2004 there are more slaves than were seized from Africa during four centuries of trans-Atlantic slave trade. (Kevin Bales, Disposable People)
• In 1850 a slave in the Southern United States cost the equivalent of $40,000 today. According to Free the Slaves, a slave today costs an average of $90.
• Approximately two-thirds of today’s slaves are in South Asia. Human Rights Watch estimates that in India alone there are as many as 15 million children in bonded slavery.
These children could be ours. Those little boys being beaten and tortured so they can harvest an unnecessary commodity could be Elias or Josiah. I thank God for His grace and mercy that my children were born on American soil, and have been given the luxury of safety, comfort, and desires. However, I can no longer ignore that something I so enjoy comes at a high cost for children halfway around the world. As of Saturday, September 27, 2008, our home will be a slave-free chocolate home. Brandon and I will be holding each other accountable in only purchasing fair trade cocoa, and when the temptation to consume chocolate comes we will pray for the children enslaved. I realize this may be an extreme commitment for most, but my prayer is that if you're reading this you won't let these facts escape you like I did for a year.