as young as seven endure sixteen hour days and beatings to produce the
cocoa that major companies use to make chocolate. And only days before Easter, these companies are desperately competing with each other to maximize profits.
Morgan Rayner, a
childcare worker in Australia, loves chocolate. But when she found out
about the children farming the cocoa, she could only imagine her
9-year-old little brother in their shoes.
She knows Easter
is chocolate companies' most lucrative holiday period, but can't
stomach that their profits will come from modern day child slavery --
especially if they refuse to sell fairly traded chocolate, like Lindt and Ferrero. (Every other major chocolate company has already taken steps to ensure their cocoa isn’t harvested by children.)
started a petition on Change.org calling on Ferrero and Lindt to take
immediate steps to make sure no child labor is involved in making their
chocolate -- and it's going global.
There may be as many as 2 million children working in cocoa farms in West Africa, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is farmed.
But the movement to end child slavery in the chocolate industry is growing fast. Major brands like Nestle, Mars and Cadbury have already released products that are certified as child labour free.
And just a few months ago, Hershey introduced its first independently
certified child labor-free chocolate bar after hearing from more than 54,000 people via a petition started on Change.org.
Lindt and Ferrero are the last two major brands still holding out
-- and they’re under mounting pressure thanks to Morgan's petition to
ensure their own products aren’t produced by children in shocking
Easter is one of
the most profitable times of the year for chocolate companies --
they’ll be more sensitive than ever to consumer pressure. Morgan is
hoping thousands will join her to jump on what she sees as a chance to
make real progress in ending child slavery.