01. Slavery in the Chocolate Industry

Essay by WahyuViper1 October 2014

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Slavery in the Chocolate Industry


The forced labour of children in the Ivorian cocoa farms is at a distance from the glamourised candy producers such as Mars and Nestlé, and a universe away from the day-to-day consumers of chocolate. That such a quixotic market shares a commonality with the more exposed diamond market, for example, whose implication in the sale and involvement of guns in tribal cleansing has long been documented, drives home the reminder that our modern prosperity, usually reached and used with the best of consumer intentions, if not also the corporate, and even our harmless, insignificant indulgences sometimes owe themselves to an extremely complex source environment. In this paper we dissect the impasse of a much-loved industry's unpleasant, inadvertent underside in an objective and comprehensive method, rigorously applying the ancient, contemporary, and modern theories of ethics in our analysis, and drawing on practical precedents and goings-on in the business world to reinforce abstraction with cases and results.


Slavery is not an ancient artifact in our time, but a concealed certainty. Only 81 of the world's near 200 countries are signatories of United Nations legislation to actively fight against slavery (51) in the twenty-first century.

Velasquez values the domestic American chocolate market at $13 billion, a figure made possible by trading in more than half a million tons of chocolate's source crop (cocoa beans) in the year 2000 alone (52). Most of this cocoa is harvested in West Africa, the regional capital of the world for the produce (52).

The scale of the forced labour is in the region of 200,000 adolescents and preadolescents dispersed among a million agricultural estates of cocoa (51, 52). Those million plantations belong to the single two countries where the situation is most intensified (the Republic of Ghana and the Republic...