Nations around the globe depend on chocolate to satisfy their sweet-tooth cravings.  On average, trafficking in relation to chocolate is reported on in 3 articles per week; however, when four of the world’s largest holidays (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas) roll around, media coverage of the issue peaks.  Even so, it is estimated that 1.8 million children are working under forced labor in common chocolate-producing regions of Africa.

Why is this different than other trafficked goods?

According to a LexisNexis report in collaboration with StopTheTraffik, over 40% of the cocoa involved in making chocolate can be traced back to the Ivory Coast in West Africa, a region notorious for child labor of boys as young as ten.  However, this is not the full extent of this problem.  The cocoa that goes into making the world’s chocolate is grown in 50 countries, with African countries exporting about 70%. It is this major exporting region in which most of the human trafficking associated with the chocolate industry occurs.  

What can I do to help?

Although this issue may seem too large to manage, there are some very simple yet effective ways that consumers can combat the issue. Whether you are thinking of your special someone on Valentine’s Day or dressing up as your favorite Avenger for Halloween, next time you pick up the chocolate bar, check to see from where the cocoa originates.  If it carries the green frog logo of the Rainforest Alliance or the small human logo of Fair-Trade, your purchase would support the efforts to end human trafficking, one ethically sourced bar at a time.