It’s no secret that I love Halloween. I love picking a costume, I love sitting on the front porch and handing out candy. I love carving pumpkins and the decorations…the list goes on. I’ve loved Halloween for as long as I can remember.
I remember as a kid, my mom would check my candy before I was allowed to eat any of it. Checking for pieces that had been tampered with. (If we’re being honest here, I really just loved dressing up and going out, but I didn’t really care for the candy – I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth!)
Every year, you see warnings posted on Facebook, on the news, on twitter, on blogs like this one to check your kids candy, to make sure it’s safe to eat, to make sure it’s not going to harm your kids (which is totally important, so please do that)!
But what if I told you that candy already caused harm before the it ever fell into your childs plastic pumpkin bin? Before it ever hit the shelf at Wal-Mart?
I’m talking about the MAJOR issue of human trafficking on cocoa farms. Many of the slaves forced to get the cocoa that makes our chocolate bars are young kids.
Read this from foodispower.org:
A child’s workday typically begins at six in the morning and ends in the evening. Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests. Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete...Once they cut the bean pods from the trees, the children pack the pods into sacks that weigh more than 100 pounds when full and drag them through the forest Aly Diabate, a former cocoa slave, said, “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”
Tell me, would you give your own child candy you thought had been tampered with? Candy that looked like it had razors in it (like we sadly see stories of every. single. year)?
NO. Of course you wouldn’t.
So why do we feed our kids (and ourselves) food that causes the enslavement and maltreatment of other human beings…of small children?
WHY ARE WE OKAY WITH THIS?
Are Hershey bars or Reese cups or M&M’s that important to us?
Is our sweet, momentary pleasure worth the slavery of another human being?
I challenge you to really consider what you’re passing out at trick or treat this year. Consider buying a candy that is not chocolate (or buying fair trade chocolate!)
If you can’t tell, this is something I am extremely passionate about and burdened by.
For 4 years, I’ve only bought fair trade chocolate and coffee and I try to be as careful as I can about my clothes. I’m not saying this to make myself sound “holier than thou,” I really just want you to know that I do practice what I preach.
It can be hard to buy everything fair trade, but chocolate is one of the easiest things to replace. There are so many chocolate companies taking a stand against this, but Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestle are not a part of those companies.
Please, please be ethical this halloween. Don’t allow this holiday (the best holiday) to be one that causes the exploitation, abuse and enslavement of men, women and children.
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know.”
— William Wilberforce
Be safe this halloween, keep others safe this halloween. Buy fair trade!