It may come as a surprise to discover the items that are here on this list – things that feature regularly in our everyday life. These products are sometimes produced under terrible, slave-like conditions, and sadly it is not unusual for children to be on the workforce. Conditions for these workers are shocking, with beatings and abuse being a norm.
While we hear of campaigners sharing the sometimes horrifying treatment of animals in an attempt to cause a movement against animal products, we somehow overlook the plight of our fellow humans in our hunger for cheap goods.
Here, President Barack Obama describes how slavery works in the modern world. “It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off his debt (mainly for transport and clandestine entry) to his trafficker. The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen. The teenage girl beaten, forced to walk the street.”
The US Department of State outlines their understanding of the term ‘human trafficking’.
Human trafficking appears in many guises. It might take the form of compelled commercial sexual exploitation, the prostitution of minors, debt bondage, or forced labor. The United States government, and increasingly, the international community, view “trafficking in persons” as the term through which all forms of modern slavery are criminalised.
Chocolate is consumed in enormous quantities around the world, and demand continues to grow. The supply is going to struggle to keep up in coming years, when the demand is expected to increase by a further 30%.
The producers of cacao are using mostly outdated farming methods and they tend to make pitiful profits on their crop.
Further moral issues come into the spotlight when we look at the conditions of the workers who harvest the cacao crop. Most suppliers buy from the Ivory Coast, and the harvesting here is done by slave labourers, often children younger than 10, who have been taken from poorer countries.
The children are either abducted or sold by their families for as little as $30. They are forced to carry enormous sacks that cause physical harm to their little bodies.
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