Bakers Journal

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Slavery-free chocolate fundraiser


February 6, 2012
By Bakers Journal

February 6, 2012, Anti-human trafficking organization [free-them] has partnered with the Alliance Against Modern Slavery (AAMS) and ChocoSol Traders to raise funds to end slavery through the sale of slavery-free chocolate.

This joint initiative is in line with Freedom February, which [free-them] has designated as a month to be a voice for freedom, and to end slavery in Canada and abroad.
 
Over the past two decades accounts of child slavery in the cocoa industry have surfaced. In the Ivory Coast an estimated 200,000 children have been enslaved in cocoa farms. The country produces approximately half of the world's cocoa today.

Researchers and non-for-profit organizations have been analyzing the costs of liberating – not buying – enslaved individuals, including the cost of rehabilitation, counseling, job-training, education and establishing ex-slaves in economic autonomy and citizenship. This research shows that most slaves are in places where liberation costs the least.

"If we take the figure of $400 – a bit higher than what researchers estimate it costs to liberate the average slave – and multiply $400 by 27 million, the approximate number of people in slavery worldwide, we get a total of $10.8 billion. This may seem like a large amount, but it's not when you consider that it's less than what Americans spend every year on Valentine's Day," a press release from [free-them] stated.
 
This Valentine's Day, [free-them] is encouraging people to "send chocolate companies the message that you will no longer tolerate the exploitation of human beings." Instead, the organization is encouraging shoppers to buy slavery-free chocolate from ChocoSol Traders. ChocoSol works at the grassroots level with farmers and their families in Mexico, paying them better than fair-trade prices for their chocolate.

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AAMS will donate all profits from chocolate sales to Sisters of the Holy Cross and Temedt, two organizations working to end slavery in Mali.