Halloween is less than two weeks away and that means lots of candy and (our favorite) chocolate! We’re super excited to see all of our rioters posting photos of their spooky costumes and decorations for the holiday, but we’re also hoping you’ll help us send an important message to all the trick-or-treaters running around this year. Here’s how you can help!
Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. If you’re like us and you love chocolate, you probably also love the awesome cacao farmers that supply it for all the chocoholics in the world. Unfortunately, though, cacao farmers can be cheated out of profits when they sell their harvests to middlemen who rig scales and give farmers false information about prices. On average, cacao farmers earn less than $2 a day. That’s less than a third of the United States’ hourly minimum wage! We’ve put up a couple other fair trade product profiles on our blog this month that talk about a similar issue: When we don’t buy fair trade, we’re hurting the individuals who truly deserve the profit for their products. Whether it’s coffee, sugar, cacao or some other good, these farmers have their families and themselves to support. With a stable income they can provide better educations and lifestyles for their children, which will dramatically improve their communities in the long term.
But there’s another serious issue going on in the chocolate industry: child labor. Particularly in Western Africa, which produces more than 70% of the world’s cacao, the use of child labor and slavery isn’t uncommon. Children in this area must begin working at a young age to support their families. Many are lured onto cacao farms by traffickers while others are forcefully sold. Mostly they are between the ages of 12 and 16, but some are as young as 5 when they begin farming. These children aren’t always given a choice, but you are. Not only do you fight against child labor and enslavement when you buy fair trade chocolate, but you also send a powerful message to the children you give that chocolate to this Halloween. Giving fair trade treats to your neighborhood children helps children on the other side of the globe have a brighter future—one without slavery or forced labor. And that’s a sweet deal for everyone!
There’s still plenty of time to purchase fair trade chocolate and candy for Halloween this year, and for all of the Halloweens to come. Make it your mission to not only help the farmers and children harvesting the cacao, but also to spread the message to future generations about the incredible impact fair trade relations can have on our world. It starts with you, this Halloween, and ends with a better tomorrow for the children, both here and thousands of miles away.