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Is Your Chocolate Made From Child Slavery?
10 Ethical Chocolates For This Halloween

[Credit: Equal Exchange]
Is the Halloween chocolate you hand out to trick-or-treaters every year made from child slavery? 

According to a U.S. Labor Department report, 60% of the world’s cocoa supply for the mass-produced chocolate industry comes from West African countries of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. These regions are steeped in dire poverty and notoriously rife with labor exploitation and human trafficking, with the average cacao farmer making less than $0.80 per hour (compared to the liveable wage of $2.50 per hour) and an estimated 2 million children enslaved in the fields. It has been described as one of the world's worst child labor crisis.

In an Ethical Rankings Scoresheet based on research in the areas of environmental, animal welfare and human rights, all the top names like Kit Kat, Mars, M&M's and Toblerone fared badly. Despite pledging to eradicate child labor over two decades ago, none of the biggest companies like Hershey and Nestlé can still fully trace the origin of their cacao, much less guarantee that their chocolate is free from exploitation.

Our hope lies with the smaller craft chocolate makers who are devoted to the bean-to-bar movement and committed to sourcing cacao directly from the farmers or through co-ops that pay as much as thrice the commodity price of raw beans. These artisanal makers have more control over the process, from how the cacao is grown to the flavor profiles of the bars to the packaging that lands on the shelf.

Take the advice of Mariel Presilla, author of The New Taste Of Chocolate, “Look for chocolate from a company that gives real information about the region the cacao is from, the farmers, and why this or that program they support matters.” If you're not sure, don't be afraid to ask!

And because I know it can be incredibly time-consuming, I did the research and found 10 ethical chocolate treats you can hand out this Halloween:

1. Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Minis ($28.00 for a box of 150)
2. Alter Eco Truffles ($44.99 for a box of 60) Use code SPOOKY to get BOGO 50% the box
3. Tony's Chocolonely Tiny Tony's ($44.99 for 100 pieces)
4. Justin'sMini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ($29.94 for 6x4.7 oz bags)
5. Divine Chocolate Mini Pieces ($30.00 for 100 pieces)
6. TCHO Chocolate Squares ($47.99 for 100 pieces)
7. Theo Peanut Butter Cups ($27.48 for 12 pack)
8. UNREAL Snack Pack Variety Pack ($20.99 for 12 pack)
9. Lake Champlain Halloween Squares ($10.00 for 12 pieces)
10. Chocolove Peanut Butter Cups ($45.00 for 50)

* I reached out to Enjoy Life Foods and they informed me that their chocolate is not fair-trade certified, but that their supplier focuses on improving conditions for the farmers and is committed to operating without child labor. For that reason they are not on the list. 

Want more resources? You can:

In this book written by founder of To The Market Jane Mosbacher Morris, she shares insights to inspire and empower you to create positive change as consumers.

An investigative piece by The Washington Post, journalists speak with 12 child laborers from Burkina Faso working on cocoa farms and tell their heartbreaking stories, alongside reporting on what the industry is doing.
This comprehensive report provides an overview of the current sustainability developments in the cocoa sector and highlights critical issues that are require present attention.
This Netflix-produced documentary exposes shocking truth about the chocolate industry and addresses the many challenges faced.

A grassroots organization that aims to help eradicate child slavery in cocoa farms, this is an extensive list of companies that only use ethically grown cocoa.

“Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”  - Maya Angelou

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