Buying Chocolate
Easter Eggs?
Were They Produced by Cocoa Plantation Slaves
in West Africa?

Cocoa is the essential ingredient for making chocolate Easter eggs.  A significant proportion of the world production of cocoa is grown and harvested on plantations by African slaves.

These slaves are on cocoa plantations in remote rural areas in West Africa.  Some of the chocolate Easter eggs 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.

The 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".

As a result of a mission by one of the Society's agents to West Africa, the Society is compiling a list of slave cocoa products.

As 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.

Conversely, 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.

Since 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 material in this report is based on a Mission to West Africa by the Society's Secretary-General.


Continued exploitation of children in cocoa industry
April 3
, 2007
Read the
BBC World Service report

Last Updated April 03, 2007

Links to other pages dealing with this issue:

Current campaigns

Internet links to chocolate manufacturers:

World Cocoa Foundation

Chocolate Manufacturers Association




The Society is not responsible for the content of external internet links

Links to other pages dealing with slavery in West Africa:

West African slave trade

Traditional slavery in West Africa

Links to pages dealing with consumer awareness:

Current campaigns

Consumer awareness

Goods made by child labor



Carpets made by child labor


Ethical investment

Get involved!

Fair trade

Links to other pages  dealing with slavery:

Does slavery still exist?

What is slavery?

Child slavery in South Asia

Hierodulic servitude in South Asia


Rescuing slaves

Slavery Convention 1926

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 © 2003 by the Anti-Slavery Society. The text on any page may be reproduced provided that the source is acknowledged.  This does not apply to photos.