There’s slavery in every shopping mall in America.
From cocoa, coffee and clothing, to cars, computers and cell phones—
many products sold in the U.S. are tainted by slavery. Sometimes it’s
sweatshop slavery where goods are manufactured. Other times,
it’s brutal child slavery at plantations and mines where
commodities and raw materials come from.
The problem is: I will eat chocolate impulsively which also means that I buy chocolate impulsively. If I am in the grocery isle and I pick up a chocolate bar, I am not asking the question, “Was this candy, which is intended for my pleasure, produced by child labor?” I’m only thinking, “I want this chocolate and I want it now.” This self-awareness makes me long for the day when “slave free” chocolate is easily identified and readily available in every grocery and convenience store.
I’m praying to keep the chocolate out of my house. The good news is there is hope for those of you who are more disciplined in your chocolate purchases. Food is Power has a Chocolate List which includes companies it recommends as slave-free. You can now download the free app for your smart phone and carry this list with you.
This chapter does not paint a pretty picture of the chocolate industry. Child labor is a reality of many cocoa farms. A harsher reality is that almost everything we consume in America is in some way touched by slave labor. There is more good news:
Fair Trade is defined as “a system of exchange that honors producers, communities, consumers, and the environment. It is a model for the global economy rooted in people-to-people connections, justice, and sustainability (126).”
The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal is found on food and beverages in restaurants, supermarkets, airplanes, trains and hotels around the world. That little green frog seal assures consumers that products come from farms that are managed to the rigorous standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), where workers and their families enjoy dignified, safe conditions, and where wildfire and habitats are protected.
Look for these seals at your favorite places to shop.
Speaking of favorite places to shop…my all-time favorite fair trade products are the Shea Moisture Hair and Skin Care Line! My husband, daughter, and I all use their moisturizing shampoo and conditioners. My daughter and I use their oil and moistures to keep our hair curls looking nice. I also use their body oils and creams. Thanks to their generous sponsorship of the “Refuse to do Nothing” Human Trafficking Education & Awareness Series, we have also been introduced to the sister brand, Nubian Heritage. We love their soap and body butter! Everyone in the house has sampled them during these cold winter months.
Both of these Sundial Brands are “committed to making the highest quality natural skin care products possible, engaging in eco-friendly and cruelty-free business practices, and supporting the local community and fair trade around the world.” Did I mention that the products smell great and the scents linger for hours? You have got to love them! You can find their products at Target, Walgreens, CVW, Sally Beauty Supply, Bed Bath & Beyond, and several other stores, or you can check them out online.
Has anyone tried the “Trade as One” Subscription? If so, I would love to know your thoughts in the comment section. http://tradeasone.com/
Find out more about Hershey’s Responsible Cocoa Community Programs in West Africa
Hershey’s Bliss products provide 100% cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms
Watch the documentary, “The Dark Side of Chocolate” (available on YouTube)
Blessings, © Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014
Refuse to Do Nothing Book Discussion
Chapter 1: The issue of Human Trafficking
Chapter 2: We’ve Done This Before
Chapter 3: So you want to be an activist?
Chapter 4: Take Action #HumanTrafficking
Chapter 5: Be Brave, No Excuses
Chapter 6: Stop the Violence
Chapter 7: Not in My Backyard
Chapter 8: Sex for Money
Chapter 9: Be the Nosy Neighbor
Chapter 10: Congo, Your Phone, and Child Slaves