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Takiyah Nailahmarie Tanner


LA 101 H
Dr. O'Hara
04/19/2011
Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate
Chocolate is undeniably as universal as it is delicious, and its symbolic purpose very
much complements just any and every holiday or occasion with complete satisfaction. In many
wealthy countries, specifically the United States of America, residents consume tons of chocolate
without acknowledgingexactly where or how the country gets this chocolate. Many people are
well familiar with the countries that produce the distinct and necessary goods used to make
chocolate; however, the United States doesn't make it apparent that a large portion of the
chocolate that we sell is produced by African, particularly Ivorian slaves who are captured, sold,
and obligated to produce tons of chocolate for consumption. According to the BBC, hundreds of
thousands of children are being purchased from their parents for a pittance, or in some cases
outright stolen, and then shipped to the Ivory Coast, where they are sold as slaves to cocoa
farmers (Dcorzia). Not that these brutal acts that occur elsewhere contradict the United States'
Federal Agricultural Trade Policy, because it doesn't by any means; however, one of the
purposes of the Agricultural Free Trade agreement is "to improve the lives of producers and
consumers in the developing world and around the globe" (USDA) by trading and purchasing
goods from these foreign nations. Although the United States makes it their business to try to
economically abet other nations, innocent people are suffering as a result of the extreme demand
for cocoa from nations such as the United States. Clearly, with the acknowledgement of the
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brutal measures that are associated with thepurchasing and selling of non fair trade chocolate,
America should refrain from purchasing chocolate that isn't fair trade chocolate because to be
quite frank, chocolate isn't the only item being sold, so is blood, sweat, and pitiful tears.
Cocoa beans, the principle raw material needed to produce chocolate, are grown
exclusively in equatorial climates, predominantly in Ivory Coast also known as Cote d'Ivoire.
Ivory Coast is known for cocoa production and most nations purchase and trade goods from this
region because of the richness, authenticity, and sweetness that are natural to the cocoa beans
grown there. Ivory Coast "is responsible for over one-third of the world's production; another 30
percent of global supplies come from three of its West African neighbors: Ghana, Nigeria, and
Cameroon. J ust 11 percent comes from the Americas--and all of that from Central and South
America" (York). So, most countries utilize the cocoa beans that are grown in Ivory Coast to
produce their famous chocolate.
Most of us are unaware of the lives that these hard-working Ivorian slaves live on the
cocoa plantations. Young men are captured from their native villages in Cote d'Ivoire and
brought to work on cocoa plantations that are usually located hundreds and thousands of miles
away from their homes and families. In certain situations, men are tricked into working on the
cocoa plantations with the intentions of receiving compensation. However, they never see any
type of compensation and realize that they are in fact trapped on a plantation in the middle of
now where. It is entirely impossible to resist because then the masters of the respective plantation
will beat those who fail to comply with the regulations of the plantation, which ultimately
includes little or no rest, no social entertainment, and no verbal contact with anyone outside of
the plantation. Some men are even beat to death, and their bodies are left to rot in the hot
beaming sun. Aly Diabate, a freed slave, told reporters, Anytime they loaded you with bags (of
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cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and
beat you until you picked it up again (Robbins). According to a former Ivorian slave, "none of
us have ever been paid (YouTube-Chocolate-Not So Sweet After all). Sadly, he stated the
following, "they enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them, but saw no
benefit" (YouTube). Lastly, he warns chocolate eaters that essentially they are "eating his flesh"
(YouTube). In addition, when asked if he has ever tasted chocolate he responded, "Wehave
never eaten chocolate" (YouTube). These slaves have never even had a small taste of the
chocolate that they risk their lives making, which makes this situation even more ludicrous and
implausible. Furthermore, the problem of child slavery then is not simply a faraway abstraction
with no immediate implications for anybody else except those who are directly affected, but
rather it is an issue that everybody around the world should be concerned about and demand
action to eradicate (YouTube).
The United States Agricultural Trade Policy is a decent one with clear intentions to
essentially try to "boost prospects for food and agricultural markets in developing countries by
stimulating economic growth and development" (USDA). The United States does trade goods,
materials, and supplies freely withcountries that don't practice slavery. Surely this country
imports goods in exchange for capital, which is completely appropriate and healthy for a country
to remain stable. On the other hand, almost everything citizens purchase and consume have been
imported in from foreign nations, and sadly some were produced fairly and some weren't;
however, the United States should take a myriad of issues into consideration when deciding to
trade or purchase goods from other nations. The policy is definitely generous, leading, and
satisfactory. So, why then does the United States continue to sell products and goods that were
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manufactured in countries that force uncompensated slaves to risk their lives and well-beings to
suit the needs of others?
The United States Agricultural Trade policy has two obvious objectives which were
implemented to assist both America and Foreign nations. The government supposes that trading
with foreign nations will undoubtedly benefit American businesses which will stimulate the
American economy, and therefore expand growth opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and
growers. The United States economy is unquestionably thriving as a result of the policy. Also,
the owners of successful agricultural businesses are also acquiring a substantial amount of wealth
in the process. However, other nations such as Ivory Coast are ultimately suffering economically
and socially. According to the policy for foreign nations, liberalized agricultural trade policies
mean better and more diverse diets and rising incomes that foster development and growth
(USDA). This objective that is a part of the policys guidelines and goals isnt the reality for
Ivorian people. There are hundreds and thousands of slaves who are dying left and right and who
arent making any money whatsoever. This policy isnt necessarily helping this nation as a
whole; therefore the United States should discontinue trade and acquisition relations with Ivory
Coast since the policy isnt meeting its full potential for that particular country.
Fair trade chocolate isn't completely familiar to most people in America, simply because
no one actually considers that chocolate is associated with pain and hardships. Ultimately,
"Theway that fair trade works is that there's a guaranteed minimum price. So if the price
gets below a certain level, then the fair trade price sets in. And there's also a fair trade
social premium. And so that's the $200 a ton social premium. For every ton that we
bought, we've paid an extra $200, which the farmers get to decide collectively and
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democratically how they spend that money. And that's so there's a very distinct extra
piece of money that they've got that they wouldn't have got from selling their cocoa on
the open market (Tranchell).
Slave chocolate, what most chocolate should essentially be re-named, is exactly the opposite. In
regards to the United States' Agricultural Free Trade Policy, to ensure that we are actually
helping to boost or improvethe economies of other nations, should indeed refrain from
purchasing or having any trade associations with any and all nations who practice slavery. The
United States should then add a clause or notation to the Agricultural Policy that states our fair
trade preferences and mandates. Purchasing fair trade chocolate would help this countrys policy
seem more accurate and beneficial to the residents of this country and to foreign people.
Fortunately, fair trade is also becoming a trend for many companies that sell other products
because competition is indeed on the rise and the United States will be left behind if this problem
isnt addressed soon enough.
A lot of the most famous chocolate companies that are well-knowntoday dont sell fair
trade products: The $13 billion U.S. chocolate industry is heavily dominated by just two firms
Hersheys and M&M Mars who control two-thirds of the market (Robbins).
Unfortunately, neither of them sellsfair trade chocolateand their candies are produced by slaves.
Other companies that also sell slave chocolate are: ADM Cocoa, Ben & J errys, Cadbury Ltd.,
Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut, Fowlers Chocolate, Godiva, Guittard Chocolate Company,
Kraft, Nestle, Sees Candies, The Chocolate Vault, and Toblerone. On the other hand, there are
many companies that use cocoa that have no association with Ivory Coast. These companies are:
Clif Bar, Cloud Nine, Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Denman Island Chocolate, Gardners Candies,
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Green and Blacks, Kailua Candy Company, Koppers Chocolate, L.A. Burdick Chocolates,
Montezumas Chocolates, Newmans Own Organics, Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company,
Rapunzel Pure Organics, and The Endangered Species Chocolate Company. The United States
should just acquire cocoa beans from the places where these companies do so, and hopefully this
country would lose the reputation of associating with dehumanizing practicesof slavery.
Many consumers of chocolate are not attentive enough on this issue to know how
staggering and horrifying the cocoa bean process is just to produce something so sweet and
delicious. One would question how something so appetizing, delectable, and pleasantly
scrumptious can be something that causes brutal deaths, human denigration, and physical abuse.
To ensure success on both spectrums, the United Statesshould indeed address this concern,
modify their policy, or discontinue trade relations with Ivory Coast. In addition, people of this
country can also help to try to put this issue to its end by writing letters to a local congressman
expressing concerns and feelings that may persuade the government to immediately act. Also, all
people of this country should also write letters or visit the headquarters of these large chocolate
companies and persuade them not to sell slave chocolate to innocent people who refuse to
associate or support non fair trade practices. Additionally, individuals should refrain from
purchasing slave chocolate from major companies such as Hersheys and M & M Mars because
there are many alternatives out there for better, inexpensive chocolate. Lastly, join organizations
such as Anti-Slavery International to show support to these slaves that die due to theworlds
ridiculously high chocolate demand. Support the Fair Trade campaign by joining organizations
such as Global Exchange to make a world-wide change. Ultimately, the United States would too
become a better nation as a whole.
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Works Cited
Dcorzia, Suzy. "IHS Child Slave Labor News :: Slave Reality." IHS Child Slave Labor News ::
Home. May 2005. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
Robbins, J ohn. "Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate?" John Robbins Official Site. 19 Apr. 2010.
Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
Tranchell, Sophi. "A 'divine' Fair Trade Policy for Chocolate The CNN Freedom Project:
Ending Modern-Day Slavery - CNN.com Blogs." The CNN Freedom Project: Ending
Modern-Day Slavery - CNN.com Blogs. 7 Apr. 2007. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
"USDA Foreign Agricultural Service - About U.S. Agricultural Trade ." USDA Foreign
Agricultural Service (FAS). 25 Aug. 2010. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
York, Helene. "Chocolate Is Sweet, but Chocolate Policy Would Be Sweeter - Helene York -
Life - The Atlantic." The Atlantic News and Analysis on Politics, Business, Culture,
Technology, National, International, and Life TheAtlantic.com. 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 22
Apr. 2011.
"YouTube - Chocolate - Not So Sweet After all (The Cte D'Ivoire Story)." YouTube -
Broadcast Yourself. 24 Sept. 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.