Did you know that the chocolate industry is hiding a bitter truth? Almost every bit of commercially made chocolate you eat includes cocoa that was harvested by children working under illegal and hazardous conditions. Among these children are those that are effectively trafficked and enslaved. And for more than two decades, the world's leading chocolate companies, primarily American ones, who directly benefit from this broken system, have pledged to end this exploitation, but have failed time and time again to do so.
Credible reports indicate that 1.56 million children in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, home to most of the world's cocoa production, continue to work on cocoa farms in violation of all international norms and agreements. These reports also show the problem is growing and that the number of children five to nine years old working on these farms are increasing, not decreasing.
This has to stop. These large chocolate conglomerates must be held accountable for their supply chains and Congress is the right place for this accountability to be mandated. Even the Supreme Court believes Congress to be the appropriate decision-maker as they ruled earlier this year in a cocoa human trafficking case that if laws are to be changed, Congress is the right place to change them.
I strongly urge you to work with other like-minded policymakers to make big chocolate companies and others become responsible corporate citizens and to enact true human rights due diligence legislation. Their failure to act for the past two decades cannot become our failure to act now.
▶ First sent on September 13, 2021 by Tony's Chocolonely