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Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off

Powerful Essays
Slaves of Cocoa: The Reasons Why and How to Reverse
In the book Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off, is found a passage on a boy’s account of being sold into slavery. At only the age of fourteen, he went looking for an opportunity to make some money. After being deceived by a child trafficker, and brought by night through the jungle, the author goes on to say, “…a stranger came for him. Money changed hands between the man who had taken him from the bus station and the stranger. The transaction completed, Malik and the other boy were told to leave with the individual. …for the next several years… Malik slaved on a cocoa plantation” (125). This is just one of many accounts that occur daily. To best understand this problem, which is very prominent in Cote d’Ivoire, a region that supplies about half of the world’s cocoa, the economy and those that influence it must be taken into consideration. Several issues must be addressed in order for cocoa farmers to receive more pay for their crop, which in turn will reduce slavery.
The issue of slavery, of course, has not been without dispute. This opposition has primarily, if not entirely, come from the major companies that profit off the cocoa purchased from Cote d’Ivoire. Such opinions included are that the price of the crop cannot be increased as it would be “price fixing.” Another argument is that there is no real slavery occurring, but that it is merely the working standards of the country. Finally, one could argue that paying more for the crops would raise the prices for consumers, and at the same time does little or nothing in the way of improving working conditions. Such opinions must have facts, and then draw logical conclusions from them. The first thing to consider of these opinions is...

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... eliminated. This is exemplified by the ethics by which the company Green & Black’s acted upon. In Carol Off’s book, she states, “Green & Black’s played the ethical card to the hilt, putting the message that it was paying a premium price for the cocoa beans while allowing African farmers a chemical-free environment” (281). Though their chocolate cost more than others’ did, they were able to pay farmers well, and stipulate a healthier approach- organic. Such can be done on a larger scale, but is being avoided by big companies, whose best interest lies in profit. Seeing how slavery can be greatly reduced, which has been successfully demonstrated, begs the question: what than will it take for big business to implement these changes?
Works Cited
Off, Carol. “Bitter Chocolate: The Dark Side of The World’s Most Seductive Sweet” Random House, Toronto, Canada. 2006. Print.
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