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Give Fair Trade Chocolate this Halloween

by Mary Beth Coudal

This Halloween many trick-or-treaters will receive a new kind of treat, fair trade mini-chocolates. For a few cents more than brand-name chocolates, candy buyers can have a clear conscience when buying and giving chocolates that are not derived from child labor.

Sixty percent of name brand chocolate is produced in West Africa, with 43 percent coming from the Ivory Coast. There, boys from neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo, who expected their farm work to lead to a better life, are forced to work 12-hour shifts for a pittance.

It is unbelievable and unacceptable that, in the beginning of the 21st century, the children of West Africa are trapped in such desperation and even slave labor.

These children typically lack the opportunity for education, leaving them with no way out of their cycle of despair. The IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) noted that 66 percent of child cocoa workers in the Ivory Coast did not attend school. About 64 percent of children on cocoa farms are under age 14, meaning that the loss of an education comes at an early age for the majority of children on cocoa farms. (

However, the chocolate provided through Equal Exchange and UMCOR comes from the fair trade farm cooperatives in the Dominican Republic, CONACADO, and in Peru, CACVRA. Through these co-ops, fair trade farmers have used some of their joint profits to award scholarships and repair schools.

Place your fair trade mini-chocolate order through the UMCOR Coffee Project at Equal Exchange and be sure to ask for the Halloween postcard brought to you by Equal Exchange and the General Board of Church and Society.

To purchase fair trade chocolate and connect to the UMCOR Coffee Project partnership, link to:

You may also learn more about the Halloween campaign at:  or the campaign to reform the global cocoa trade: at

To learn more: "Fair Trade Chocolate: CONACADO and the UMCOR Coffee Program" by Christie House for New World Outlook, September/October 2005.

See Also...
Topic: Agriculture Children Christian love Economy Human rights UMCOR Youth Partners/partnerships
Geographic Region: United States
Source: GBGM Mission News

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Date posted: Oct 26, 2007