Cocoa Plantation Slaves
in West Africa Produce Your Favorite Chocolate?
is the essential ingredient for making chocolates.
A significant proportion of the world production of
cocoa is grown and harvested on plantations by African
slaves are on cocoa plantations in remote rural areas in
West Africa. Some of the chocolates and drinking
chocolate which we buy is made using slave cocoa.
The slaves are beaten by the overseer. They are
not fed properly. They work long hours. They
are locked up in a slave barracks at night. They
are beaten and often killed if they try to escape.
problem for consumers is to know the difference between
slave cocoa and free cocoa. Obviously, no
manufacturer labels its product as "Cocoa Grown
With Slave Labor".
a result of a mission by one of the Society's agents to
West Africa, the Society is compiling a list of slave
a rule of thumb, the cocoa purchased by the more
expensive chocolate manufacturers tends to be free
cocoa. However, there is an exception. If
the manufacturer experiences an unexpected surge in
consumer demand and purchases cocoa on the spot market,
there is a significant risk that a proportion of the
purchase might have come from plantations in West Africa
which grow and harvest cocoa using slaves or unfree
as a general rule of thumb, there is a risk that the
cheaper chocolates (which are often "No Label"
brands and the like) have been manufactured using cocoa
purchased on the spot market, a proportion of which may
be slave cocoa.
the civil war in Côte d'Ivoire (the largest exporter of
cocoa with plantations were slaves work), exports from
that country have decreased and cocoa prices have
increased, so that there has been a decline in the use
of slaves on the plantations.
The issue which confronts the Society and its supporters
today is similar to that which confronted early
abolitionists. John Woolman refused to use sugar
because it had been produced by slave labor (there was
only a small amount of sugar produced by free labor
imported from British India, and it was of inferior
quality). James and Lucretia Mott supported the
Free Produce movement, boycotting candy for the same
material in this report is based on a Mission to West
Africa by the Society's Secretary-General.
Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Hershey Foods,
Swiss-based Nestle and Britain's Cadbury Schweppes and
other leading producers jointly make more than $100
billion annually from chocolate. They are making
making efforts to eliminate the problem.
Continued exploitation of children in cocoa
BBC World Service
April 09, 2007