By: Nishk S. & Nithin P.
Stopping for gas, you walk into the nearby 7/11. Mask on, you approach the counter with a Slurpee and a Hershey Bar. “That’ll be $4.38,” says the cashier. Fishing a $5 bill out of your pocket, you pay for the 2 items, collect your change and run back to your car. Slurping on your drink, you split the Hershey bar among your siblings. The creamy, flavorful Hershey Bar that you just split, is a product of modern-day slavery.
Home of Chocolate
We all know this mass-produced, delicious sweet originates in factories across the world. But where does your Hershey bar truly come from? Obviously, chocolate’s main ingredient is cocoa. Turns out, the Ivory Coast is the number 1 place to find high-quality, low-cost cocoa beans. Did you know that many of the factories on the Coast utilize unauthorized child labor to produce their food? Young children, starting from the tender age of five, work inside musty factories, in unsafe, and frankly quite gruesome, conditions. Without any air-conditioning, the scorching sun heats up the building and the unhygienic workplace makes the workplace dangerous for anyone to step foot inside, let alone young children. This phenomenon is popular in many factories across Asia and Africa. In fact, “more than 2 million children were engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions'', says the Washington Post. The sheer number of children that are being put to work is saddening. Painful working conditions, forced work, all for just one bar of chocolate.
The question remains, who is actually at fault here? Is it the companies and factories that employ children in an effort to save money, or is it the common public that turns a blind eye? Although many multinational corporations such as Nestle have agreed to stop these actions, it’s just a matter of time till businesses find another way to continue these ill practices that use child labor as their primary source of manufacturing.
Here's your million-dollar question, what do YOU WANT TO DO about this?