“Refuse to do Nothing” Chapter 11: Chocolate, Not So Sweet

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.

Freetheslaves.net

 

Featuring "The Demand for Sex Trafficking" and "Children and Trafficking" Panels
Featuring “The Demand for Sex Trafficking” and “Children and Trafficking” Panels

I told you last week that I am part of this human trafficking problem because I like to purchase cheap products. This week I confess another problem: I love chocolate. I try not to keep chocolate in my home because I’m not very disciplined with proportions. If I buy M&Ms, I will eat the entire bag (even if I know it is two servings) instead of eating 8 (or whatever the recommended portion is). If I buy Nestle Toll House cookies, I need to have guests over so I do not devour the package alone in a week.

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, Fairtrade 3communities, consumers, and the environment. It is a model for the global economy rooted in people-to-people connections, justice, and sustainability (126).”

 

 

Rainforest Certified photoThe 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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/

EDUCATION:

Find out more about Hershey’s Responsible Cocoa Community Programs in West Africa

http://www.thehersheycompany.com/social-responsibility/cocoa-sustainability/

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

 

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