The Dark Side Of Chocolate Essay Title

The Dark Side Of Chocolate Production

Introduction

The 58 million pounds of chocolate eaten on chocolate the drenched holiday of Valentines Day is likely made from cocoa beans from West Africa. The Ivory Coast, also known as Cote D'ivoire in Africa is the source of about 35 percent of the world’s cocoa production. These cocoa beans were likely harvested by unpaid child workers that are being held captive on plantations as slaves. Chocolate companies use these cocoa plantations as their cocoa source for their chocolate products. And since the companies want to maximize their profit, they push plantation owners to lower prices, causing plantations to cut price any way possible (Philpott).

The result is children getting trafficked into Ivory Coast from surrounding countries like Mali and Ghana, and then sold to plantations to become slaves so the plantations don’t have to pay for workers. Most of the children will never see their families again and will not receive an education. If they are eventually released or escape from the plantation, they will most likely live in poverty for the rest of their lives because they didn’t receive an education as a child and lack basic knowledge (Philpott). The chocolate industry has the power to reduce child slavery and child trafficking on the West Coast of Africa by simply paying plantations proper wages, but what will cause them to take that step in ending the cruelty?

Daily Life On a Plantation & Basic Facts

There are plantations throughout West Africa, but the country most abundant with them is Ivory Coast (Romano). On these plantations, children work about 80-100 hours weeks. They are paid nothing and they receive no education. They’re often under fed, making it difficult for them to have enough energy to do work. Most of them have never even tasted chocolate. If they attempt to escape, they are severely beaten (Gregory). The estimated number of children working in the fields of the Ivory Coast is 200,000. The numbers have continued to rise over the years (Mckenzie). Not only is the slave work physically demanding, but it is also very dangerous. (Mckenzie).

On the plantations, these child workers strike the cocoa bean pod with a machete and pry it open with the tip of the machete blade, exposing the beans. With every strike of the machete, the child is at risk to severely cutting him or herself. Almost every child on the farm has scars on their hands, arms, legs or shoulders from accidents when handling the large knife (Johnson). In addition to the hazards of using machetes, kids have to use farming chemicals on the cocoa beans when harvesting. Tropical regions like The Ivory Coast have to deal with a huge insect population and choose to spray the pods with large amounts of industrial chemicals used for agricultural purposes. They do all of this without the necessary protective equipment (Johnson). Ally Diabates, former child slave quoted “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when...

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Chocolate. A treat that practically everyone enjoys and loves to taste. A product that brings in over 80 billion dollars a year. (BBC Chocolate: Bitter Truth) With that dollar amount to show, who doesn’t love chocolate? The reality, however, is that chocolate also has a different, darker side. The chocolate industry is causing children to work, not go to school, starve, and endure tremendous pain. “How is this happening without the chocolate companies doing anything about it?” you may ask. That is precisely the question many have today.
Approximately 70% of all cocoa in the world begins in West Africa. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are the two main producers of cocoa beans. West Africa is an excellent place to have cocoa plantations because of the heat and low rainfall that is critical for the cocoa tree to survive. These cocoa plantations often cover hundreds of miles with thick, lush trees. (BBC Chocolate: Bitter Truth) The bean, originally called ‘cocao’, is grown on a tree that ranges from 13-26 feet high. The bean pod is 4-15 inches long, and it takes 4-5 months to grow. When these pods have ripened, they are opened up and the contents inside are taken out. Inside the pod are many cocoa beans covered in pulp; a gooey substance that surrounds the beans. After removing these, they are dried in the sun for 3-9 days. The pulp is then taken off the beans, and the beans are spread out in the sun to dry completely. Continuing this procedure, the beans are bagged and sent off on a ship to the factories that turn them into delicious chocolate bars.(Dunn, Elton. Page 1)
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