One afternoon last week I was invited to a "Traffic-Free Chocalate Party." It was an innovative idea--to serve chocolate to raise awareness of yet another injustice in our world.
Around 12,000 children have been trafficked into cocoa farms in Cote d'Ivoire. Children are either sold by their parents or stolen, shipped to the Ivory Coast, and sold as slaves to cocoa farms. Once they get there, they are stuck, they cannot get out. They are beaten and abused and forced to live a life of pain and slavery.
I can't imagine the despair of a family so desperate that they sell their children. How deep the pain must go in their hearts, probably to stay there a lifetime. I can't imagine the utter horror of being kidnapped as a child and taken into slavery. We worry about our kids crossing the street, but in many places in the world, the fears are much more extreme.
Once these children and others start picking the cocoa bean, another injustice arises. The bean is acidic and eats away at the skin on their hands. The jungle is also filled with poisonous snakes that can bite the picker, to injure or even kill them. Boots and gloves help make these dangers much less prevelent, but the boots alone cost $10, and on a yearly salary of $77, this is a luxury no one can afford.
Isaiah 1:17 states this: "Learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."
One way that we can seek justice for these children and cocoa bean workers is to help provide them with boots and gloves. This is what we did at the chocolate party.
We can also buy chocolate that ensures that their product is slavery free. Companies that can not ensure that their chocolate is slavery free includes: Ben and Jerry's, Ghiardelli, Hershey, M&M, Nestles, and Sees Candies.
We can also pray. We can remember the tragic stories of the cocoa bean pickers and let our hearts be broken for them.
Organizations that are addressing this injustice: