Fair Trade Films: Child Slavery in the Cocoa Industry

Yesterday, we had the amazing honor of being featured on WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” (“The best of 362,560 bloggers, 897,850 new posts, 368,766 comments, & 128,970,065 words today on WordPress.com”):

Thank you so much for reading our post on how to “Fair Trade Your Halloween!” We loved all of your fabulous comments.

In case you’d like to learn more about the important (but hidden) horror of child slavery and abuses in the cocoa industry, check out these outstanding films:

Slavery: A Global Investigation:


The entire documentary, which “exposes slavery in the rug-making sector of Northwest India, the cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, and even the home of a World Bank official in Washington, D.C.” is excellent, but the section specifically on child slavery in the cocoa industry begins at minute 10:50.

A description from the production company True Vision:

“Slavery is officially banned internationally by all countries, yet despite this, in the world today there are more slaves now than ever before. In the four hundred years of the slave trade around 13 million people were shipped from Africa. Today there are an estimated 27 million slaves – people paid no money, locked away and controlled by violence. Multi-Award winning documentary makers Kate Blewett and Brian Woods – who produced the groundbreaking films The Dying Rooms, Innocents Lost and Eyes of a Child, saw this terrible exploitation with their own eyes. The result is an utterly devastating film.
. . .
“In the cocoa industry of Cote d’Ivoire, Brian and Kate found more slavery. The country produces nearly half the world’s supply (over 100 million tonnes) grown on thousands of small plantations – cocoa which finds its way into the newsagents and supermarkets of Britain. The young men are worked up to eighteen hours a day, unpaid and beaten if they try to escape. Kate and Brian interviewed slaves still working in the plantations, as well as a group of young men who had been rescued just days before. One boy, scarred from head to foot from brutal beatings, described how he and other boys were mistreated by their captors, if they attempted escape: “They would tie your hands behind your back. Then one person would beat your front and someone else your back”. Kate asks DRISSA an eloquent young man who worked for five and half years in the cocoa plantations what he would like to say to the rest of the world who eat chocolate: “They enjoyed something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them, but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh”.
. . .

“This film isn’t all bad news, however. The film-makers also look at how slavery can be fought, both here and abroad, without making the poor poorer. In Brazil they meet charcoal workers who used to be enslaved but are now paid because of pressure brought to bear by the North American public after the slavery was exposed. In India they visit a school for ex-slaves funded by the Rugmark Foundation, an organisation that ensures that carpets sold in our shops have not been made by slaves – freeing the slaves, but keeping the rural Indian economy going. And Professor [Kevin] Bales [“from the UN Working Group on Contemporary Slavery”] explains how through organisations like Fair Trade, we can make sure that when we buy a chocolate bar, we’re not buying into slavery.”

“Slavery won the Peabody Award in 2001.

Run-Time: 80:00″

The Dark Side of Chocolate:


“Is the chocolate we eat produced with the use of child labour and trafficked children? The award winning Danish journalist Miki Mistrati decides to investigate the rumours.

“His hunt for answers brings him to Mali in West Africa, where hidden footage reveals illegal trafficking of small children to the cocoa fields in neighboring Ivory Coast. Kids as young as seven years old work . . . in the plantations where they face a dangerous job cutting down the cocoa and carrying heavy loads. Some are the victims of trafficking and most of the kids are never paid.

“Does your favourite chocolate have a bitter taste? Follow Miki Mistrati into the bush of Africa to expose; The Dark Side of Chocolate.”

Thanks again for your support and for spreading the word about Fair Trade – the sweet solution for justice in the cocoa industry.

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters