Steve Jobs & Apple - the Dark Side

from Pauli. 

Hi Everyone;
While I admire Steve Jobs and his accomplishments we have to take a deeper look at the company, Apple, and see what kind of manufacturing ethics it has used in other countries. Sometimes we view great success as being the ultimate accomplishment but we don't see the people who are being used and manipulated to achieve that success because they are out of our sight. We do have fairly good worker's protection in the US, not perfect, but this has been accomplished over time and it is a fundamental condition to employment here that we should not take for granted. Thus, it is more expensive to do business in the US. I know this from being in the food business which is highly regulated for worker safety and public consumption safety.
The reason we have manufacturing overseas is that companies can circumvent fair pay, safe working conditions, all the normal things we take for granted in the US. There has to be some middle ground where we can bring jobs back to the US. This may mean lower wages in some cases, but at least people would be working. We are going to have to invent new jobs to do here and we may have to work for less money. We are undergoing a global readjustment now and Americans are just going to have to consume less of the world's resources as a result. Our garages are full of unused crap anyway, most of it made overseas.


My daughter, Shannon's, comments below. Above link was forwarded to me by my grandson, Michael.
"I hate to be the wet blanket, but the conditions of the Chinese workers who make Apple products are so deplorable that they actually have been committing suicide.  Also, Apple used public employees (i.e., the police) to  illegally break into the apartment of a man accused of misplacing the prototype to the iPhone (regardless of whether or not the guy actually committed wrongdoing, we are supposed to have this thing called “the Rule of Law” and constitutional protections against warrantless searches).  The fact is, people like Steve Jobs made their money on the backs of others and behind pretty much all of these American Dream stories is a tale of market manipulation, corporate thuggery, worker enslavement, and greed.   Most multinational corporations would not have been so successful without taxpayer subsidies, a revolving door from government to corporate jobs (i.e., people who work in government and then are conveniently offered awesome jobs by the corporations that they helped while in office), the inequitable and exploitative globalized business model, a State Department that is using taxpayer dollars to advocate for private business interests all over the world (as recently disclosed by Wikileaks), the offshoring of American jobs (facilitating the devastation of the American middle class), non-unionized and inhumane working conditions for people who are so desperate that they either work for these companies or don’t work at all, resource theft (otherwise known as “fighting for our freedom”) and other heinous practices that have nothing to do with the “free market.” 
I’m not saying that Steve Jobs personally was an evil person, but he was an enabler of the corrupt system that is now being protested by thousands of people on Wall Street and elsewhere all over the country."
Shannon Grasso  
To Your Wholeness,
Knightspirit's picture

Interesting how people are so immediately drawn to the negative aspects of ANY event/person/topic that might come up. Geez - people get a life. Give the guy a break - he was brilliant, the products have revolutionized what we do on a day to day basis, and if you don't like how they were/are produced - then that is a completely separate issue - and applies to every big company, and has more to do with China allowing their people to be exploited than the companies that are taking advantage of that opportunity.

Apple is a very small part of that much bigger issue and it is truly a slap in the face to bring it up at a time like Job's death. Please!

Knightspirit's picture

Just in case anyone needs a refresher on just what the difference is between a Mac based system and a Windows system:

And this from the same author:

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the brilliant individual who gave the world so much these past few decades, passed away yesterday afternoon.

I've already gone over how we'd all be staring at nothing more than a blinking green "C:>_" right now if it weren't for Apple introducing the point-and-click computer, the mouse, micro floppy discs, Firewire and the touch-screen interface. Heck, if it weren't for Apple, you certainly wouldn't be reading this on your smart phone at work right now.

Sure, some of these innovations were invented elsewhere, but it was Apple that took the risk for which no one else had the guts and introduced these crazy ideas in real commercial products. Most of what we take for granted in technology came from Apple. Everyone else piles-on and tries to copy — poorly — three months later and makes these innovations seem "obvious," but if not for Apple, there would be no Windows computers and only you computer science people would be looking at this on VT100 terminals right now — in green-on-black like this, without the pretty pictures or different sized and bold fonts.

I've covered this already. What I'll cover today is how this teaches us to be thankful for who we are.

Zillions of people used to wish they were Steve Jobs, a multi-billionaire who loved his work so much he worked for Apple for free, and who was loved everywhere and who was still cooler than any teenage rock star. Most billionaires are boring, old, work too hard, have few friends and no one knows them. Steve Jobs was a living legend — a rock star who didn't even need to wield an axe.

Steve Jobs was only 56 years old, and he died yesterday afternoon. Even with his unfathomable billions, 56 years young was all he got out of this life.

What was I doing yesterday afternoon when Steve Jobs died? Playing hooky with my kids at an indoor play place where we spent the afternoon sliding down a huge 35-foot-tall (10 meter tall) air-inflated jumpy slide. We had a blast, and as I was sliding down this huge thing with my kids on my lap, heard the words of one of my old friends here in New York, where one afternoon sitting around his backyard pool watching the kids he remarked:

"The only thing that matters is the time you spend with your family and with your friends. Everything else is bullshit." (sorry for the honest quote, but hey, we're to-the-point here in New York.)

I didn't hear that we had lost Steve Jobs until later yesterday.

Would I want to be Steve Jobs? No thank you. I'm very thankful to be myself and still be here today to be playing with my kids and writing this.

We all should be thankful for who we are. Beats me why so many people wish they were someone else, but as I've also said, no one else can be better at being you than you are. In art, be yourself, and shout it out.

More things for which we can be thankful are that Apple was founded by Steve Wozniak along with Steve Jobs. We still have Steve Wozniak.

Why do Apple products look better than anything else? Because they are sculpture. Their industrial design has been driven by Steve Job's appreciation that simplicity is power. His absolutely maniacal drive to rid everything of buttons, wires and fugly logos and stickers is what keeps Apple products simple, and therefore so powerfully attractive. Well, Steve has driven the simple, but Jonathan Ive is the sculptor (industrial designer) at Apple who has been doing the actual design, and he's still with us, too.

I hope the rest of the team at Apple continues to drive simplicity. Simplicity is everything. Simplicity is why I can find everything and do everything I need on my iPod Touch, while a lack of appreciation of the power of simplicity is why no one can figure out how to get their DSLR to take the darn picture half the time when we press the shutter. Oriental camera makers cram too much in to try to make them sell more. If they were artists, they'd understand simplicity, but they aren't artists.

So for what am I thankful today? I'm glad that Steve Jobs was so insistent on getting us brilliant new things without which I wouldn't be able to be doing this website or read it on the music player in my pocket (along with my 1,000 CD music library), and that Steve Jobs enforced that everything had to be simple so that we actually can use it. I'm thankful that Apple is still there and that we still have Steve Wozniak and Jonathan Ive, and most of all, I'm thankful that I'm me!

While you're here, have a read or look at Steve Job's address to the Stanford graduating class of 2005. He has a lot to say about what's really important.

The main thing is that he shared that every morning he makes sure that he's happy about what he's going to be doing that day. If he's not happy for a few days in a row, he does something to change it. Life's too short to waste it doing something that sucks. That means if you don't like your job, quit. Just walk out right now. You won't spend the effort to do better if you're still spending your time at a job you hate when you should be spending that time looking for something better. And guess what: working for someone else isn't the way. Here in America, anyone can found a company and become a billionaire, like that Facebook kid did a few years ago when I founded this site. Our only limitation in America is own own imaginations.

We will become and can do anything we choose to imagine, but we have to use our imagination and not waste our minds watching TV, U-toob, email or working for someone else instead. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Knightspirit's picture

I agree Noa - I am not disputing that, and I wasn't referring to your post specifically. Just making the point that it is a separate issue that is bigger than any one company. Asking a company - any company - to make the commitment to sustainable labor practices when virtually all of the competition is taking advantage of cheap labor is asking them to commit suicide. Never mind that the people buying the products just wouldn't buy them at 4 times the price. We as consumers are every bit as guilty as any company that we support with our $$.

Interestingly - Apple products are already 3 times the price and people are STILL buying them. The good news is that if and when the money system collapses - this would be an opportune time to clean up these practices. And it looks like that time is soon.


Noa's picture

Sorry, I didn't know that Steve Job's died, Jeff.  I listened to his speech at the link you provided above [look], to the graduating class of Stanford U. in 2005.  Very inspiring.

While I don't doubt that he was a great man, he like the rest of us, allow the continued exploitation of people and natural resources by our thoughtless consumption.

For life to continue on this planet, we must take responsibility for our actions.

Noa's picture

 Exactly my point, Jeff.

Noa's picture

Apple Admits to Using Child Labor:

...but they're not the only one.  Nike, Gap, Walt Disney, and numerous garment manufacturers are known to exploit workers for long hours with little pay.  Here are the top 10 offenders:

The author in lightwin's post suggests that Americans should be willing to work for lower wages in order to compete with sweatshop labor.  Such thinking is conceding power to corporate conglomerates who are getting rich off enslaving its workers.  You won't be helping anyone by agreeing to work for piss poor wages, except, of course, the greedy $^%$ at the top of the pyramid.

So what can you do about it?  You can start by reading your garment labels and avoid buying products made in countries where sweatshop labor exists.  Buy fair trade products like coffee, chocolate, and others found here

So much corruption, so little time.



That was the exact argument the South used when asked to emancipate the Negro and Metizo slaves-- no one will buy our products if we had to pay the workers. 

It is a seductive argument built on the enslavement of others.  We must peacefully emancipate ourselves by striving to avoid buying anything made with slave labor.  Add your voice and buying power and focus of heart and mind to the light stream of emancipation and resource based economy that already exists--- let this light stream become a reality world wide. 

All the fashion industry uses enslaved children to create their products.  Have you seen the prices of a pair of Prada shoes, Gap jeans, Guess clothes, Old Navy?  There are plenty who buy that shat--- and their cost to create is very low.  So the argument no one will buy things made by people making a living wage and not employing enslaved children is rather moot.


ksaulino's picture

I actually think right now is a perfectly ripe time to start paying employees a living wage for their work.  Corporations are making record profits right now, while paying their employees slave wages.  How about they not take in a 30% margin, but only a 28% margin and pay what they should pay?  How about the CEO's and high level exec's take a (gasp!) pay cut, and make, say, $5 million per year, instead of $10 million? How many workers in China or Malasia could get a living wage with that $5m?

Personally, I'm not so hung up on where the jobs are (well, ok, I want to see more Americans working, but that's sort of a selfish part of things).  I think if ALL countries required that their employees be safe at work, and paid a living wage, and that corporations are not allowed to hire children into these jobs, and that the companies needed to pay into some system to cover health needs of the employees, then we would find more equity, and companies would not find it so attractive to move overseas.  It all works together.  Companies need to do their part.  If they are "people" then they need to get some morals and ethics and start thinking about how they play into the world as a whole.  Right now, they seem to (for the most part), just want to take advantage of every last drop of milk from the cash cow that is our current world state.  It won't be there for long.  I've never been more confident of that than I am right now. 


lots of love,



Noa's picture

If only we could run the world!  Innocent

Wendy's picture

Halloween is coming up. Make an effort to find fair trade chocolate or other candies to pass out. Those Hershey's and Nestle's bars are made by slaves.

Noa's picture

My heart aches for those kids.  I avoid both of those brands as much as I can (although they both do  business under several names).


This is not meant to minimize their plight, but here's another side of the story.  Hershey, Pennsylvania was founded in 1903 by Milton Hershey.  For decades, the chocolate factory was the largest employer in town.


In recent years, jobs were shipped overseas and local workers were fired.  You won't believe what Hershey Inc. did next:

A Taste of Slavery

Sudarsan Raghavan and Sumana Chatterjee
Knight Ridder Newspapers
June 24, 2001

This full article was no longer available on the web, so we present this copy.

Jump to:

<="" a="">

<="" a="">Part 1: How your chocolate may be tainted

DALOA, Ivory Coast - There may be a hidden ingredient in the chocolate cake you baked, the candy bars your children sold for their school fund-raiser or that fudge ripple ice cream cone you enjoyed on Saturday afternoon.

Forty-three percent of the world's cocoa beans, the raw material in chocolate, come from small, scattered farms in this poor West African country. And on some of the farms, the hot, hard work of clearing the fields and harvesting the fruit is done by boys who were sold or tricked into slavery. Most of them are between the ages of 12 and 16. Some are as young as 9.

The lucky slaves live on corn paste and bananas. The unlucky ones are whipped, beaten and broken like horses to harvest the almond-sized beans that are made into chocolate treats for more fortunate children in Europe and America.

Aly Diabate was almost 12 when a slave trader promised him a bicycle and $150 a year to help support his poor parents in Mali. He worked for a year and a half for a cocoa farmer who is known as "Le Gros" ("the Big Man"), but he said his only rewards were the rare days when Le Gros' overseers or older slaves didn't flog him with a bicycle chain or branches from a cacao tree.

Cocoa beans come from pods on the cacao tree. To get the 400 or so beans it takes to make a pound of chocolate, the boys who work on Ivory Coast's cocoa farms cut 10 pods from the trees, slice them open, scoop out the beans, spread them in baskets or on mats and cover them to ferment. Then they uncover the beans, put them in the sun to dry, bag them and load them onto trucks to begin the long journey to America or Europe.

Aly said he doesn't know what the beans from the cacao tree taste like after they've been processed and blended with sugar, milk and other ingredients. That happens far away from the farm where he worked, in places such as Hershey, Pa., Milwaukee and San Francisco.

"I don't know what chocolate is," said Aly.

Americans spend $13 billion a year on chocolate, but most of them are as ignorant of where it comes from as the boys who harvest cocoa beans are about where their beans go.

More cocoa beans come from Ivory Coast than from anyplace else in the world. The country's beans are prized for their quality and abundance, and in the first three months of this year, more than 47,300 tons of them were shipped to the United States through Philadelphia and Brooklyn, N.Y., according to the Port Import Export Reporting Service. At other times of the year, Ivory Coast cocoa beans are delivered to Camden, N.J., Norfolk, Va., and San Francisco.

From the ports, the beans are shipped to cocoa processors. America's biggest are ADM Cocoa in Milwaukee, a subsidiary of Decatur, Ill.-based Archer Daniels Midland; Barry Callebaut, which has its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland; Minneapolis-based Cargill; and Nestle USA of Glendale, Calif., a subsidiary of the Swiss food giant.

But by the time the beans reach the processors, those picked by slaves and those harvested by free field hands have been jumbled together in warehouses, ships, trucks and rail cars. By the time they reach consumers in America or Europe, free beans and slave beans are so thoroughly blended that there is no way to know which chocolate products taste of slavery and which do not.

However, even the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, a trade group for American chocolate makers, acknowledges that slaves are harvesting cocoa on some Ivory Coast farms.

A 1998 report from UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, concluded that some Ivory Coast farmers use enslaved children, many of them from the poorer neighboring countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo. A report by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Labor Organization, released June 15, found that trafficking in children is widespread in West Africa.

The State Department's year 2000 human rights report concluded that some 15,000 children between the ages of 9 and 12 have been sold into forced labor on cotton, coffee and cocoa plantations in northern Ivory Coast in recent years.

Aly Diabate and 18 other boys labored on a 494-acre farm, very large by Ivory Coast standards, in the southwestern part of the country. Their days began when the sun rose, which at this time of year in Ivory Coast is a few minutes after 6 a.m. They finished work about 6:30 in the evening, just before nightfall, when fireflies were beginning to illuminate the velvety night like Christmas lights. They trudged home to a dinner of burned bananas. If they were lucky, they were treated to yams seasoned with saltwater "gravy."

After dinner, the boys were ordered into a 24-by-20- foot room, where they slept on wooden planks without mattresses. The only window was covered with hardened mud except for a baseball-size hole to let some air in.

"Once we entered the room, nobody was allowed to go out," said Mamadou Traore, a thin, frail youth with serious brown eyes who is 19 now. "Le Gros gave us cans to urinate. He locked the door and kept the key."

"We didn't cry, we didn't scream," said Aly (pronounced AL-ee). "We thought we had been sold, but we weren't sure."

The boys became sure one day when Le Gros walked up to Mamadou and ordered him to work harder. "I bought each of you for 25,000 francs (about $35)," the farmer said, according to Mamadou (MAH-mah-doo). "So you have to work harder to reimburse me."

Aly was barely 4 feet tall when he was sold into slavery, and he had a hard time carrying the heavy bags of cocoa beans. "Some of the bags were taller than me," he said. "It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn't hurry, you were beaten."

He was beaten more than the other boys were. You can still see the faint scars on his back, right shoulder and left arm. "They said he wasn't working very hard," said Mamadou.

"The beatings were a part of my life," Aly said. "Anytime they loaded you with bags and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead, they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again."

At night, Aly had nightmares about working forever in the fields, about dying and nobody noticing. To drown them out, he replayed his memories of growing up in Mali, over and over again.

"I was always thinking about my parents and how I could get back to my country," he said. But he didn't think about trying to escape.

"I was afraid," he said, his voice as faint as the scars on his skinny body. "I had seen others who tried to escape. When they tried they were severely beaten."

Le Gros (Leh GROW), whose name is Lenikpo Yeo, denied that he paid for the boys who worked for him, although Ivory Coast farmers often pay a finder's fee to someone who delivers workers to them. He also denied that the boys were underfed, locked up at night or forced to work more than 12 hours a day without breaks. He said they were treated well, and that he paid for their medical treatment.

"When I go hunting, when get a kill, I divide it in half ���� one for my family and the other for them. Even if I kill a gazelle, the workers come and share it." He denied beating any of the boys.

"I've never, ever laid hands on any one of my workers," Le Gros said. "Maybe I called them bad words if I was angry. That's the worst I did." Le Gros said a Malian overseer beat one boy who had run away, but he said he himself did not order any beatings.

Part 2: Life on a Slave Farm

One day early last year, a boy named Oumar Kone was caught trying to escape. One of Le Gros' overseers beat him, said the other boys and local authorities. A few days later, Oumar ran away again, and this time he escaped. He told elders in the local Malian immigrant community what was happening on Le Gros' farm. They called Abdoulaye Macko, who was then the Malian consul general in Bouake, a town north of Daloa, in the heart of Ivory Coast's cocoa- and coffee-growing region.

Macko (MOCK-o) went to the farm with several police officers, and he found the 19 boys there. Aly, the youngest, was 13. The oldest was 21. They had spent anywhere from six months to four and a half years on Le Gros' farm.

"They were tired, slim, they were not smiling," Macko said. "Except one child was not there. This one, his face showed what was happening. He was sick, he had (excrement) in his pants. He was lying on the ground, covered with cacao leaves because they were sure he was dying. He was almost dead. . . . He had been severely beaten."

According to medical records, other boys had healed scars as well as open, infected wounds all over their bodies. Police freed the boys, and a few days later the Malian consulate in Bouake sent them all home to their villages in Mali. The sick boy was treated at a local hospital, then he was sent home, too.

Le Gros was charged with assault against children and suppressing the liberty of people. The latter crime carries a five- to 10 year prison sentence and a hefty fine, said Daleba Rouba, attorney general for the region.

"In Ivorian law, an adult who orders a minor to hit and hurt somebody is automatically responsible as if he has committed the act," said Rouba. "Whether or not Le Gros did the beatings himself or ordered somebody, he is liable."

Le Gros spent 24 days in jail, and today he is a free man pending a court hearing that is scheduled for June 28. Rouba said the case against Le Gros is weak because the witnesses against him have all been sent back to Mali.

"If the Malian authorities are willing to cooperate, if they can bring two or three of the children back as witnesses, my case will be stronger," Rouba said. Mamadou Diarra, the Malian consul general in Bouake, said he would look into the matter.

Child trafficking experts say inadequate legislation, ignorance of the law, poor law enforcement, porous borders, police corruption and a shortage of resources help perpetuate the problem of child slavery in Ivory Coast. Only 12 convicted slave traders are serving time in Ivorian prisons. Another eight, convicted in absentia, are on the lam.

The middlemen who buy Ivory Coast cocoa beans from farmers and sell them to processors seldom visit the country's cocoa farms, and when they do, it's to examine the beans, not the workers. Young boys are a common sight on the farms of West Africa, and it's impossible to know without asking which are a farmer's own children, which are field hands who will be paid $150 to $180 after a year's work and which are slaves.

"We've never seen child slavery. We don't go to the plantations. The slavery here is long gone," said G.H. Haidar, a cocoa buyer in Daloa, in the heart of Ivory Coast's cocoa region. "We're only concerned with our work."

The Chocolate Manufacturers Association, based in Vienna, Va., at first said the industry was not aware of slavery, either. After Knight Ridder began inquiring about the use of slaves on Ivory Coast cocoa farms, however, the CMA in late April acknowledged that a problem might exist and said it strongly condemned "these practices wherever they may occur."

In May, the association decided to expand an Ivory Coast farming program to include education on "the importance of children." And in June, the CMA agreed to fund a survey of child labor practices on Ivory Coast cocoa farms.

Finally, on Friday, the CMA announced some details of the joint study, which will survey 2,000 cocoa farms in Ivory Coast. ``Now we are not debating that this is true," CMA President Larry Graham said Friday when asked about cocoa farm slavery. ``We're accepting that this is a fact."

Ivorian officials have found scores of enslaved children from Mali and Burkina Faso and sent them home and they have asked the International Labor Organization, a global workers' rights agency, to help them conduct a child labor survey that's expected to be completed this year.

But they continue to blame the problem on immigrant farmers from Mali and on world cocoa prices that have fallen almost 24 percent since 1996, from 67 cents a pound to 51 cents, forcing impoverished farmers to use the cheapest labor they can find.

Ivory Coast Agriculture Minister Alfonse Douaty calls child slavery a marginal "clandestine phenomenon" that exists on only a handful of the country's more than 600,000 cocoa and coffee farms.

"Those who do this are hidden, well hidden," said Douaty (Doo-AH-tee). He said his government is clamping down on child traffickers by beefing up border patrols and law enforcement, and running education campaigns to boost awareness of anti-slavery laws and efforts.

Douaty said child labor in Ivory Coast should not be called slavery, because the word conjures up images of chains and whips. He prefers the term "indentured labor."

Ivory Coast authorities ordered Le Gros to pay Aly and the other boys a total of 4.3 million African Financial Community francs (about $6,150) for their time as indentured laborers. Aly got 125,000 francs (about $180) for the 18 months he worked on the cocoa farm.

Aly bought himself the very thing the trader who enslaved him had promised: a bicycle. It has a light, a yellow horn and colorful bottle caps in the spokes. He rides it everywhere.

Aly helps his parents by selling vegetables in a nearby market, but he still doesn't understand why he was a slave. When he was told that some American children spend nearly as much every year on chocolate as he was paid for six months' work harvesting cocoa beans, he replied without bitterness:

"I bless them because they are eating it."

Part 3: Lured by a promise of money

SIKASSO, Mali - Businessmen called "locateurs" wait in the little bus station in this large border town, where crammed mini-buses leave for Ivory Coast every 30 minutes. They search the crowds for children traveling alone, looking lost or begging for food. "Would you like a great job in Cote d'Ivoire?" they ask, using the official name of the former French colony. "I can find you one."

The dusty alley behind the bus station is brimming with vendors selling everything from food to cigarettes. There are cobblers and shanty kiosks selling bootleg tapes of West African pop music. Chickens and goats abound, and dust mingles with the scent of raw meat.

There also is a dark warehouse with blackened walls and a thick wooden door covered with tin sheeting that locks from the outside. Malian officials say slave traders sometimes keep their young victims here overnight so they can't escape.

Kadi Samaka, a sidewalk vendor, sits in front of the warehouse and sells the peanuts she roasts in a black kettle. She has watched adults bring children carrying bags to sleep in the warehouse.

"Sometimes, the men buy the children some food," said Samaka, 19. "The next morning, they take the children and go." Samaka said she doesn't intervene. "The children looked happy," she explained, shrugging.

Nearly half of the world's cocoa beans come from Ivory Coast farms, some of which use boys who were sold or tricked into slavery to do the harvesting.

"Slavery is so much a part of the structure of society that it becomes invisible," said Beth Herzfeld of Anti- Slavery International, a nonprofit group in London that formed in 1839 and provided moral and material support to the American abolitionist movement.

This is a part of Africa where children, out of respect, will do anything to help their parents. Many men have two or three wives and dozens of children, and it's common to see boys and girls as young as 6 selling coconut milk in shells on the streets.

Virtually all the boys who wind up working on cocoa farms come from poor farming families and seldom get any schooling. Boys of their background generally start working in their parents' fields between the ages of 12 and 15.

When times weren't so bad, Malian parents who were too poor to afford proper schooling placed their children with better-off families to learn skills such as farming. The apprenticed children were treated properly and almost always returned home.

And for decades, the more prosperous Ivory Coast has offered children from Mali and other African countries not only a living but also a chance to see the world outside their villages, to learn new skills and to bring home some money after a year or two.

But hard times "have enhanced the greed of people," said Ndolamb Ngokwey, the deputy regional director for West Africa for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund. Slave trading "is a kind of perversion of a traditional practice, which is now becoming a very visible problem."

"In the Malian mentality, when your child leaves your family, we think he's going to be safe with other adults," said Malian child welfare official Sibiry Dembele. "We cannot consider an old man doing harm to the kid. Even today, it's difficult to convince some Malians that their children were being trafficked."

Most of the slave traders are Malian men, but women and Ivorians also work in the trade. Malians don't need passports or visas to enter Ivory Coast. In theory, children younger than 18 cannot cross the border unless they are accompanied by an adult, who must show identification. If the adult is a relative, no questions are asked about children traveling with him. If not, the children must have permission from their parents to cross the border.

That's why the traffickers often order the children to call them "uncle" or "aunt." And a few bucks often can convince the authorities, as well. "The police sometimes check the IDs, and sometimes they are the ones taking bribes," said Felix Ackebo of UNICEF.

Once they are across the border, the traffickers usually hand over the children to other traders, who deal them to Ivorian and Malian immigrant farmers in cocoa- and coffee-producing regions such as Daloa, where signs advertising Nestle Quik dot the streets.

Traffickers bring as many as 10 boys a month to Siaka Cisse's small, ramshackle house in Daloa, which doubles as his son's furniture shop. From there the 60-year-old former bus driver distributes smuggled children to local farmers.

Disoriented and scared, the boys trust Cisse because like many of them he speaks Bamara, a Malian tribal language. Neither Cisse nor the farmers ask where or how the traffickers got the children.

Virtually all the boys are illiterate, but Cisse gets them to sign - more like a scratchy squiggle - a contract scrawled in French on notebook paper. It says they agree to work for about $180 a year. But they eventually discover they may not be paid that year, and that many will never be paid at all.

Cisse (pronounced SEE-say), who has 20 children of his own, said he receives only a small "gift" from each farmer - $1 or $2 per child. But a boy named Mombi Bakayoko said his master paid Cisse about $13 for him, and another $20 "transport fee" to the trafficker who brought him to Ivory Coast. Other boys said Cisse gets an average of about $12 per child.

If any children he placed get paid, Cisse makes sure it's in front of him. Three children he placed said they had to give him a cut of what they had earned.

"I have no deal with the kids," responded Cisse, a stout man in a lime green robe and a purple Muslim skull cap. "The farmers pay me."

Does he see anything wrong with dealing in children?

"I don't know their ages," he said. "I only pick sturdy kids."

Cisse said it's not his fault if farmers abuse the children. He said he had gone to farms four times in the past three years to retrieve children after they sent messages to him through people traveling to Daloa.


"Lack of food, for example."

What did he do with those children?

"Found them work with other farmers." He said he did that at the boys' request.

Cisse said he hadn't trafficked in young teens for the past year, because local Malian elders expressed concern.

"Ever since the Malian committee told me not to deal in kids, I've stopped bringing 15-year-olds," he said, smiling.

When a reporter told Cisse that one of his clients had produced two contracts, one for a 15-year-old and one for a 16-year-old, both prepared and signed last year by him, he appeared startled. He paused, then casually responded: "That could be. Unless I see them, I don't know." Then he flashed a warm smile and asked politely: "Where are they?" The two teen-agers were 30 miles away on cocoa farmer Sekongo Nagalouro's small, sun-dappled plantation.

"I need labor, and since there's this offer from the fixers, we get these kids to work here," Nagalouro explained. "I treat them well." Nagalouro (Naa-gah-LOW-row) said he plans to pay the boys at the end of the year, but only if he makes enough money for his family and for expenses for the next season's crop.

He now sells his cocoa beans for a little more than 30 cents a pound. Last year, he got about 45 cents; the year before, 50 cents. If there's a problem with him being able to pay the boys, he said, he'll discuss it with Cisse, not with them.

"Maybe there are some people who think this is modern- day slavery, but I don't think so," said Nagalouro. "What agreements the kids have with those who brought them here (to Ivory Coast), I don't know about. All I know is when they are available, I go and get them."

Part 4: Two Boys, Two Years, No Pay

OUROUTA,Ivory Coast - Brahima Male and Siaka Traure met two years ago in the little bus station in Sikasso, Mali, where slave traders wait.

Siaka was 14 and Brahima was just turning 12, and Siaka packed his nice olive green shirt because he thought he was going to have "a good time" in Ivory Coast.

A "locateur" offered them work as welders or carpenters. Neither boy had any experience at those trades, but the locateur said his "big brother" in Ivory Coast would pay them each about $170 a year, 120,000 African Financial Community francs. He offered to take them there for free.

The two boys were taken to wait in a warehouse near the bus station for a few hours. More boys came, until there were 15. Then they drove off in two white mini-buses with two men in each vehicle.

"The locateur told us that if we were stopped by police, we should tell them that he was our elder brother," said Siaka (pronounced See-AH-ka).

When they neared the border, the boys were ordered to get out and take motorcycle taxis. They continued on a back road and slipped into Ivory Coast undetected. The taxis took them to a nearby village, where the white mini-buses were waiting to take them on to the town of Korhogo.

"I was suspicious, but I was also scared," said Brahima (Bruh-HEE-muh). "We were already across and I didn't know how I could run away. I had no money."

Dote Coulibaly was waiting in Korhogo. He needed two boys to work on his cocoa and coffee farm.

Coulibaly (COO-lee-baa-lee) said he bought Brahima and Siaka for $28 each, but the boys said he paid that much for both of them. Whatever the price, two days later they found themselves on his farm.

"When we arrived, he had not told us the whole story," said Brahima. "He told us we would work only in the cocoa and coffee fields. But there were also cotton, yam, corn and rice fields. When you finish one field, you go to another and another."

Nearly half of the world's cocoa beans come from Ivory Coast farms, some of which use boys like Brahima and Siaka who were sold or tricked into slavery to do the harvesting.

Brahima is a tall, thin boy with muscular arms and a cherubic face. He has been enslaved on Coulibaly's farm nearly two years. He shares a windowless mud hut with Siaka, and he doesn't ask much from life. He just wants to leave.

But he seldom thinks of trying to escape. When Siaka tried to flee last year, Coulibaly beat him, Siaka said.

"He tied me behind my back with rope and beat me with a piece of wood," said Siaka, peeling back his shirt to show the scars on his left shoulder and arm. "Then he took a small gun, and said, `I'm going to kill you and dump you in a well.' "

Coulibaly denied that he beat Siaka. But he didn't apologize for intimidating and bullying Siaka and Brahima into submission.

After all, he said, he paid $28 each for them.

"If I let them go, I'm losing money, because I spent money for them," explained Coulibaly, 39, wearing grimy khaki pants and holding a machete. "It will hurt me to lose them. So when I have the feeling that a person is trying to run away, I find that person and ask them why they want to leave."

"One day, Siaka tried to run away," he continued. "I sat him down and said, `If you really don't want to work, you give me my money and I'll let you go.' Siaka said, `I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' But I kept telling him to give me my money.

"Then I said, `You know I spent money on you. If you try to escape, I'll catch you and beat you.' After that, we were on better terms. He's never been impolite to me since then. . . . I just frightened him."

Coulibaly flashed a toothy smile and shrugged, as if he expected his visitors to understand.

He feeds the two boys adequately, and he gave them $18 each to celebrate two Muslim holidays. They used the money to buy sandals and soap.

But when their year was up last September, he told them that two of his relatives had died and he had had to pay for their funerals and other expenses. So could the boys please wait until January to be paid?

When January came, Coulibaly said he would pay them at the end of this year. But he admits he may have a hard time raising the $680 he owes them for two years' work. Last year, he made only $570, and the economy is getting worse.

"These days you cannot make predictions anymore," said Coulibaly.

He doesn't watch the boys as closely now. Since he owes them money, he knows they won't run away.

"If you leave, you are the loser and he'll be happy," said Brahima, his voice fading in the rustle of the wind.

So Siaka and Brahima never venture very far from their master's farm.

"Daloa is Paris to us," said Brahima, as he sat beside a big red termite hill and watched Siaka work in the olive green shirt he had brought for the good times in Ivory Coast. It is in tatters.

Why slavery still exists: Those along the 'chocolate chain' put blame on someone else

How could modern society allow youngsters to be enslaved to produce a crop that becomes the very food - chocolate - that symbolizes happiness, luxury and romance?

It can happen because it's nearly hidden. The enslaved boys whom Knight Ridder found worked mostly on small farms scattered in remote parts of Ivory Coast. Few people get to the farms, even those in the cocoa trade. If they visit and see children at work, it's nearly impossible to tell if the children are members of the farmer's family or have been bought by the farmer, who may or may not pay them after years of work.

That allows everyone along the chocolate chain to pass blame and responsibility for the boy slaves to someone else. Farmers who use slaves blame the people responsible for the price of cocoa. Middlemen who deal with farmers say they don't see any slavery. Ivory Coast government officials who enforce slavery laws say it's foreigners who are selling and using slaves in their country. Cocoa suppliers say they can't be responsible because they don't control the farms. Chocolate companies say they rely on their suppliers to provide cocoa untainted by slave labor. The trade associations blame Ivory Coast's unstable political situation. And consumers don't have an inkling that their favorite chocolate treats may be tainted by slave labor.

Sekongo Nagalouro doesn't think the boys working on his Ivory Coast farm are slaves. It's true that he gave a trafficker money for them. And it's true that he hasn't paid them yet for the work they do. But he intends to pay them at the end of the year from his crop profits, he said. Providing he can take care of his family and future crop expenses first. It all depends, he said, on the price of cocoa.

"Maybe there are some people who think this is modern- day slavery, but I don't think so," Nagalouro said.

Another Ivory Coast farmer, Dote Coulibaly, said he hasn't paid two boys who have worked on his farm for nearly two years. Other expenses keep getting in the way, he said, and now he owes the boys more than he made in all of last year.

Many who acknowledge that slavery exists offer the same explanation: the low price of cocoa.

"We cannot blame the farmers for exploiting these workers," said Abdelilah Benkirane, commercial director of the Society of Commercial Agricultural Producers of Daloa, one of Ivory Coast's biggest cocoa and coffee buyers, which exports 80 percent of its purchases to the United States and Europe. "The farmer has no influence on the global system. The system dictates the price."

Ivory Coast government officials concede that slaves work on some of the country's cocoa farms. But they believe that slavery is a small - though spreading - problem confined mostly to farms run by foreigners.

"Thank heavens, the proportion of this type of criminal farmers remains very low still,'' Ivory Coast Agriculture Minister Alfonse Douaty told members of the cocoa industry who were meeting in London in May. "One must also observe that a minuscule part of the native population is starting, nevertheless, to get involved."

Douaty also blames cocoa prices, and says other nations must help.

" ... At an international level, we must also combine our efforts in committing to prices which provide sufficient income to the basic producer, so as to avoid perpetuating poverty in exporting countries and thus creating the conditions which lend themselves to the development of slavery in whichever form it presents itself."

People who work in the cocoa and chocolate industries aren't sure there really are slaves harvesting the beans they buy and process.

"You damn Americans with your Nike shoes think there is child slavery in chocolate,'' said Valerie Issumo, who goes into the fields as a buyer in West Africa for ED&F Man, a top cocoa processor. "I have never seen any child slaves in all my travels through Africa.''

"Everyone we have talked to in the country who has worked there years and years has never seen this practice," said Larry Graham, president of both the National Confectioners Association and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of Vienna, Va.

"If it exists, then we are going to correct it,'' Graham said, "... starting with government action, working with NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) and educating farmers... That is, if there is a problem." Weeks later, Graham conceded that slaves do work on Ivory Coast cocoa farms. ``Initially, there was quite a lot of debate about whether this was true and how serious it was," he said Friday. "... Now we are not debating that this is true. We're accepting that this is a fact."

"It's not clear how big or small it is,'' said John Faulkner, spokesman for Godiva chocolates, which uses a lot of Ivory Coast cocoa because of the fine flavor. "There are people who have been to the Ivory Coast 50 times and say they have never seen this... But just because you haven't seen the problem doesn't mean there isn't the problem. Let's be clear about that.''

Faulkner said Godiva's cocoa supplier, Barry Callebaut, based in Zurich, Switzerland, gave assurances that "No slavery practices have been reported and none would be tolerated."

But, he conceded, "I can't guarantee anything. Candidly... to be able to sit here and guarantee that it is not happening, it's not being realistic.''

"What we don't control we cannot guarantee,'' said Willy Geraerts, director of corporate quality for Barry Callebaut. "When the cocoa comes to us, it is such a long chain, and before it gets to us, controlled by middlemen along the way. I don't think that any company today... can give this guarantee.''

People who buy the finished chocolate product say they are largely powerless to address the issue, if they know about it at all.

"We are definitely aware of it and definitely concerned about it, but being a very small voice to our suppliers you can't easily go demanding a lot of things,'' said Tim Bergquist, president of International Chocolate Co. in Salt Lake City. The company sells single-origin chocolates, including some made from Ivory Coast cocoa beans.

"It's more a matter of economics than a lack of principle,'' Bergquist said.

"We buy a finished product long beyond the bean,'' said Gary Regenbaum of Mom `n Pops candy company of New Windsor, N.Y., which buys chocolate to coat its lollipops. "I have never considered where the beginning of this product came from.... I'll look into this and make every effort to stop it.''

Most distant of all from the cocoa farm is the consumer, who has little reason to think about who harvested the cocoa beans that went into the gaily wrapped chocolate at the candy counter.

"In Canada, Europe, America, what we have on our shelves is cheap, such as coffee, chocolate bars," said Michel Larouche, the West Africa regional director for Save the Children Canada. "If we put a stop to child trafficking the prices of certain things - cotton shirts, coffee, candy bars - will rise. The reality is if your products are this cheap, it's because of this situation."

"Are (the companies) responsible?" Larouche said. "It's hard to say one is responsible. It's easier to look at who is not responsible.

"Every time one closes his eyes and buys a product made by children, then he is also responsible. He becomes an accomplice."

Cocoa Q and A

QUESTION: So now I understand that the chocolate products in my grocery store may be made from cocoa beans harvested by child slaves in the African country of Ivory Coast. What can I do to stop something that's happening so far away?


ANSWER: The first thing many people think of is a boycott; they'd stop buying chocolate. But experts say that probably would be counterproductive, hurting the very people you are trying to help.


A more effective means of fighting slavery may be the pressure of public opinion. You can write to the companies that make the chocolate products you eat, demanding that they take steps to halt slavery and assure themselves and consumers that they will deal only with farmers who don't use slaves. You also can write to your members of Congress and to the White House.


Q: Why not a boycott? The last time I found out something I didn't like about a product, I just stopped buying it.


A: Lots of experts say boycotting chocolate could make things worse for the boys working on cocoa farms. People from Anti-Slavery International and UNICEF and cocoa industry analysts say that if lots of people stop buying chocolate, it could drive down the price of cocoa. That means less money for everyone involved in cocoa production, especially the farmers. Farmers who use slaves already say it's because they don't make enough to pay the boys. If the farmers make even less money, more boys may work for nothing.


Q: How can I find out if my favorite brand uses cocoa from Ivory Coast?


A: Most chocolate manufacturers use some Ivory Coast cocoa because their particular chocolate recipe is a blend of beans from all over the world. Unless the label specifically says it uses only cocoa from some other country, there's a good chance your chocolate has Ivory Coast cocoa in it.


If you want to be sure, you can contact the chocolate company. But many of them wouldn't tell us when we asked them the same question.


Q: Is there any way to know whether a chocolate made with Ivory Coast cocoa came from a farm with slave labor?


A: There's simply no way to tell. Cocoa beans picked by slaves are mixed in with those picked by paid workers. That happens out in the farm regions and at the warehouses in Ivory Coast. So the slave cocoa beans could be in any sack, in any shipment, and wind up in any chocolate bar or fudge brownie mix. The cocoa suppliers say they can't guarantee that their shipments don't contain slave cocoa.


Q: Is anyone doing anything about this?


A: A few things are starting to happen. Many U.S. chocolate companies say they can do little on their own and are looking for answers from their trade group, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. When we first started asking CMA officials about the slaves we'd seen in Ivory Coast, they said they were unaware of any evidence of slavery. Since then, the group has acknowledged there might be a problem, and this month it decided to spend at least $1 million for a survey of who is working on Ivory Coast farms. The study, which will be conducted by governments and private groups, will survey 2,000 of Ivory Coast's cocoa farms, plus 1,000 cocoa farms in neighboring Ghana.


The trade group also is working with the World Cocoa Foundation, a nonprofit organization it set up to promote cocoa farming, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the agency that delivers U.S. assistance to developing countries, to encourage farmers not to exploit child labor.


European cocoa companies also have agreed to study the problem. They propose helping the Ivorian government to revamp its agriculture system, to see if farmers can be organized into cooperatives that would monitor working conditions on the farms. That may eliminate the need for middlemen who take a cut of the profit from cocoa sales.


And in recent months, the Ivorian government has begun sending suspected slaves back to their home countries, particularly Mali and Burkina Faso. The government is working through groups of Malian elders who live in the cocoa region and have been increasingly active in trying to find Malian boys who are enslaved or mistreated. They then alert Ivorian police, who may raid the farms and help send the boys home.


Q: What about the U.S. government? Is it doing anything?


A: In 1999, President Bill Clinton signed an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from buying products made using forced or indentured child labor, but cocoa and chocolate are not on the list of banned products. The federal government does buy cocoa products -- the Defense Department alone buys tons for the troops.


The Labor Department is spending $4.3 million on programs to eliminate child labor in West Africa. But it can't spend any money in Ivory Coast because the U.S. government banned direct help to that country in December 1999 after its democratically elected government was overthrown in a military coup. So the Labor Department is working with the International Labor Organization, a global workers' rights agency, which in turn works with organizations in Ivory Coast to train people not to exploit children.


Q: Is cocoa the only crop harvested by slaves in Ivory Coast?


A: No. Coffee and cotton are, too, according to the State Department's Human Rights Report. Some cocoa farms grow coffee as well.


There's a growing movement in the coffee industry called "fair trade," in which companies work to be sure their farmers get paid enough for their crops and that provides an incentive for the farmers to pay their workers. The fair trade coffee movement is widespread among Latin American farmers. There's a very small cocoa fair-trade movement, but it's mostly confined to European companies that sell chocolate using cocoa that doesn't come from Ivory Coast. There is no fair-trade American chocolate or cocoa.

I am so disappointed that Lindt chocolates uses Ivory Coast slavery chocolate almost exclusively in their chocolates. 

Ghiradelli Chocolates (which is the only affordable chocolate chip made with real sugar, butter and vanilla is owned by Lindt.

The Lindt christmas chocolates coat 5.99 a piece!  And they pay nearly nothing for the cocoa that is the main ingredient in their over priced blood chocolates!  It is challenging as when one goes out for dinner and orders the chocolate cake--- chances are that delicious cake was made with blood chocolate.  While on the subject of slavery-- the Prius is powered with blood cobalt as well.  And the gasoline in the cars-- more than likely produced in Africa with slave labor as well.  Slavery is alive and well--- the difference now is there are less slave ships! --Fairy 

Information originally from Richard Millman's letters through and Transfair USA's certification process and updated when sources confirm changes.

Includes importers, manufacturers, and some divisions within brands.

At least some cocoa used is produced in areas known for child slavery:

  • ADM Cocoa
  • Aeschbach Chocolatier
  • Anette's Chocolate Factory
  • Bonnat Chocolatier and Confectioner
  • Cadbury Ltd (introducing a Fair Trade bar in England in summer '09)
  • Cemoi
  • Chocolat Frey AG
  • Chocolate Manufacturers Association
  • Chocolates à la Carte
  • Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut
  • David Alan Chocolatier
  • Fazer Group, Cloetta Fazer AB
  • Fowler's Chocolate
  • Hauser Chocolates
  • Hershey Food Corporation
  • Kraft
  • Lammes Candies
  • Lindt (owns Küfferle, Ghiradelli, Hofbauer, and Caffarel)
  • Maestrani Schweizer Schokoladen AG (Munz)
  • Mars Confectionary (M&M/Mars)
  • Necco Candy Factory (also Clark)
  • Nestlé (manufactures Willy Wonka)
  • Pulakos 926 Chocolates
  • South Bend Chocolate
  • Speck
  • The Chocolate Vault
  • Thortons
  • Toblerone
  • Wockenfuss Candies

Confirmed that no slavery is used in cocoa production:

  • Adina World Beat Beverages
  • Affinty Foods
  • Alexandra Watlington Candy Company
  • Allison's Gourmet
  • Alter Eco Americas
  • America's Food Technologies Incorporated
  • American Instants Incorporated
  • Barry Callebaut USA
  • BD Imports
  • BeeCeuticals Organics
  • Belgium's Best Chocolates
  • Ben & Jerry's
  • The Benjamin P Forbes Company
  • Blackwell's Organic LLC
  • Cacao Luxe LLC
  • Caley's
  • Cal Poly Chocolates
  • Carruba Incorporated
  • Chicago Soy Dairy
  • Chocaid
  • Chocolala
  • Chocolate Alchemy
  • Chocolate by Jamieson, Ltd. (includes Ruth Hunt Candies)
  • Chocolates El Rey
  • Chocolove
  • Ciranda
  • Clif Bar
  • Coco - Zen
  • Cocoa Vino
  • Coffee - Tea - Etc LTD
  • Command Nutritionals
  • Conscience Products Limited
  • Co-op Own Brand
  • Day or Divine and Dubble Chocolate Company
  • Dagoba Organic Chocolate
    (Note: Bought by Hershey's)
  • Dancing Star LLC
  • Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company
  • Debelis Incorporated
  • Denman Island Chocolate
  • Devas
  • Divine Chocolate Company USA
  • Droste B.V.
  • Earth's Sweet Pleasures
  • Eat Pastry LLC
  • Ecco Bella Botanicals
  • ECOM Cocoa - Atlantic USA
  • The Endangered Species Chocolate Co.
  • Equal Exchange Incorporated
  • Fine Cocoa Products Incorporated
  • Florestas Organic Botanical Incorporated
  • Frontier Natural Products Cooperative
  • General Cocoa Company
  • Glory Bee Foods
  • Green & Black's
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
  • Guittard Chocolate Company
  • Gulf Coast Trading Corporation
  • Honeyville Grain
  • House of Dorchester Ltd
  • House of Sarunds
  • InBloom Group LLC
  • Innovative Beverage Concepts
  • International Marketing Systems LTD
  • Ithaca Fine Chocolates
  • Koinonia Partners Incorporated
  • Kopali Organics
  • L.A. Burdick Chocolates
  • Lake Champlain Chocolates
  • Lara Bar
  • Lesley's Life is Sweet Ltd
  • MarcieSweets
  • Maramor Organics
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Montana Coffee Traders
  • Montezuma's Chocolates
  • Moore IngredientsAM Todd - Mooreganics
  • Multiple Organics Incorporated
  • National Trust
  • Natural Nectar
  • Newman's Own Organics
  • NewOrganics
  • nSpired Foods (includes Cloud Nine)
  • Nutiva
  • Nutraceutical Corporation
  • Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
  • Organic Seed & Bean Company
  • Orgasmic
  • Oxfam Own Brand
  • Parker Products Incorporated
  • Pecan Deluxe Candy Company
  • Peterson Farms Incorporated
  • Pic a Bagel
  • Precision Foods Incorporated
  • Providence Coffee
  • Queen Helene
  • Raining Rose Incorporated
  • Rapunzel Pure Organics
  • Robin's Chocolate Sauce
  • Roman Meal Company
  • Royal Blue Organics
  • Rubicon Bakery
  • San Francisco Chocolate Factory
  • Scharrfen Berger Chocolate Maker
    (Note: bought by Hershey's)
  • Schokinag Chocolate NA
  • Seattle Gourmet Foods
  • SERRV International
  • Shaman Chocolates
  • Sibu Sura Chocolates
  • Sjaak's Organic Chocolates
  • Spruce Foods
  • Starbucks
  • SunRidge Farms
  • Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates
  • Swoon Beams
  • SuperCook
  • Tcho
  • Tesco Own Brand
  • Teuscher
  • Theo Chocolate Incorporated
  • Tradin Organics USA
  • Traidcraft
  • Travel Chocolate LLC
  • Ultimate Confections
  • United Cocoa Processor Incorporated
  • Venture Foods Ltd
  • Vital Choice Foods
  • Waitrose Own Brand
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Windmill Organics Ltd
  • WS Badger Company Incorporated
  • Xibalba Cacao
  • Xocolaterre

Want to have a company researched? Email [email protected].


I found it interesting that a child is bought for 230 Euros by the farmer and that is nearly the same price a child was bought in 1820 by a farmer for plantation work--- Cotton and Tobacco.  The same excuse was used then as well--- we could not make a profit unless we use slaves.  Slaves allow us to be profitable-- and every trafficker and slaver ship and auctioneer profited from this.  And the truth is most children and women and men in 1820 that were sold on to the Slavers were sold by their parents, husbands and/or rival villages that had been in a war with the other villages.  Without the cooperation of the Negro Africans selling their own countrymen and women and children into slavery the slavers would have had very few slaves. 

This is not just a problem that is Nestle, Hershey, Cadbury, Lindt, and Kraft--- this is not just a problem with the consumers from 1st world nations, this is not just a problem that government has-- this is a problem from the roots of Africa all the way to the Top of the 1st world Pyramid financial structures. 

In the trafficking of children-- the rescued children were very afraid to go home for their parents will beat them for bringing no money home--- these children have no where to turn they are considered to be chattle by their own parents.  This is a world wide societal norm problem that at its base is the belief that children are chattle to be sold and used as the parent chooses. 

Ceasing to eat chocolate will not address the root cause of Slavery--- it will not change the dynamic.  Boycotting in the end will only cause more harm to the child that is being sold into slavery for now they are obsolete and a burden so what does one do to chattle that is a burden?  You put it down using the cheapest most reliable way that causes the least amount of attention and least amount of noise.  You remove their life with its hungry mouth and needs from your bottom line-- the almighty money.

This is not an isolated problem to the Ivory Coast or West Africa-- it is everywhere including possibly in your own neighborhood where you live--- you could be living next door to an enslaved child, woman or man...

The problem will not go away by buying fair trade this and that--- which by the way most Americans and other lowly paid people can not afford-- the problem will only be addressed when the issues of poverty-- and education and healthcare and food distribution is addressed world wide for all.  This could be a segway to Occupy Together and Occupy Wall Street and the Arab and African Spring--- world wide these movements are addressing some of the issues--- however in Egypt the enslaved children who live on the streets are still seen a chattle-- the Egyption Spring movement only applies to the Middle classes... not to the abandoned or sold child.

Unity means O'hana--- EVERY ONE not just some...


Noa's picture


So true, Fairy.  I pray for a world where people are compassionate and will no longer tolerate injustice to people, animals, and nature.  The Declaration released by the OWS General Assembly seems to be calling for that vision.

lightwins's picture

For the informtion, Elizabeth. I sent it out to several hundred people; some of whom have very large mailing lists, suggesting a boycott...we'll see what happens.

The Gathering Spot is a PEERS empowerment website
"Dedicated to the greatest good of all who share our beautiful world"