"travelling deep into the cocoa belt of ivory coast - the country that produces half the world's chocolate - children carrying cocoa machetes are a common sight. they are kept out of school and many have untreated wounds on their legs.
'i used to go to school,' said marc yao kwame, who works with his brother fabrice on a remote farm. 'but my father has no one to work on the farm, so he took me out of school. my mother's a long way from here. i haven't seen her for 10 years - since i was two years old.'
in 2001, after an international outcry and a warning from the united states congress, the global chocolate industry signed an agreement known as the cocoa protocol. at first they promised to have made serious inroads towards ending the problem by july 2005. but they missed their targets, and congress gave them three more years.
'that deadline came and went and we were very unhappy,' said eliot engel, the democrat congressman who initiated the protocol. 'they now need to live up to that agreement. if they don't we'll make a decision in 2008.'
'personally i would be for implementing some sanctions because i think six years is enough.'"
untreated wounds? hasn't seen his mother for 10 years? is your cheap chocolate bunny worth this kind of suffering?
if you're concerned, write eliot engel and tell him you care about child servitude in your candy!
long-time readers know that i've been on this issue for way, way too long. . .