A worker at a cocoa cooperative in Moussadougou, Ivory Coast. A 2012 report by the Fair Labor Association found that only 15-20 percent of cocoa procurement from the Ivory Coast involves cooperatives monitored for practices like child labor. (KAMBOU SIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sweat-Free Chocolate

Pledge to buy Halloween candy that’s child-labor-free.

BY Amato Nocera

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Halloween conjures plenty of frightening images, but child slave labor isn’t typically one of them.

Yet at present, nearly 75 percent of the world’s cocoa is supplied by the West African countries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where nearly two million children work on cocoa farms. According to UNICEF, hundreds of thousands of these children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor.

In response, this year several campaigns are urging consumers and companies to switch to fair trade chocolate. A campaign called “Chocolate Isn’t Worth Child Slavery” is asking for pledges “to only purchase fair-trade chocolates” this Halloween. Its online petition has more than 18,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, human rights organization Global Exchange is currently running a campaign asking participants to send petition postcards to World’s Finest Chocolate President Edmond Opler, demanding that the Chicago-based company—the leading manufacturer of “chocolate for school, church and community fundraising”—make a commitment to fair trade, ensuring that “chocolate [given to] loved ones come[s] from families and communities that are treated fairly for their work.”

To learn more about Global Exchange’s campaign and to download a PDF of the petition postcard, go to globalexchange.org/fairtrade/campaigns/cocoa.

As a non-profit, independent publication, In These Times relies on financial support from readers to keep the lights on and our reporters on the beat, covering the critical stories of our time. This year, we need to raise an additional $35,000 online from readers like you by December 31.

We try not to ask too often, but this is one of those times that we must. So please, if you want to continue reading In These Times now and into the future, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Amato Nocera is a Fall 2013 intern.

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