Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans is encouraging shoppers to choose slavery-free chocolate this Easter.
“Make 2020 the Easter when we as a community sent shockwaves through supermarkets because the product most in demand was – slavery-free chocolate,” said ACRATH executive officer Christine Carolan.
Ms Carolan encouraged people to use their money this Holy Week to buy only chocolate that has been produced without any forced labour. That means delicious chocolate that has not involved the forced labour of young children to pick the cocoa beans – a key ingredient of chocolate.
Almost half of all 152 million victims of child labour are aged 5-11 years, according to a 2017 report by the International Labour Organisation. And many of these children are in the cocoa industry in West Africa, picking the cocoa beans used to produce chocolate.
“It’s a fair bet that these children will not get to eat any chocolate at Easter.”
In recent years Australians have spent around $200 million on chocolate at Easter. Much of this chocolate is produced using cocoa beans that are not certified slavery-free.
ACRATH’s president Sr Louise Cleary CSB said the respect for the God-given dignity of every human being matters. It is fundamental to creating a civil society.
“Pope Francis lamented that, ‘among so many open wounds in our world, one of the most troubling is the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters’,” Sr Louise said.
“Education can help eliminate slavery. We can become informed consumers and ask the difficult questions: Where did the cocoa beans that made my chocolate come from? Did the workers get a living wage to produce it? Were children exploited, and not in school?”