“The cocoa industry is a $100-billion industry, with over two million children working as labourers or slaves,” Maleyev says. “Due to growing poverty, child labour is up 20 per cent in the last few years, as families are desperate to make money and are sending their children to work at a younger age.”
The issue is particularly prevalent in Ghana and Ivory Coast, where boys are routinely sold into slavery and trafficked to cocoa farms to harvest the beans used to make chocolate. Much of the chocolate produced by the best-known candy-bar manufacturers in the world are made with beans harvested by child slave labourers.
While this is not widely known, it is something that should matter to all consumers of chocolate. It is also something consumers can do something about.