Boycott Hershey’s and Child Slavery

Boycott Hersheys and Child Slavery

By Alisa Patience

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve been happily married for years. You’re convinced that you and your spouse are soul mates. They have no flaws. They’re sweet, rich, good looking and they smell good. One day you decide to surprise them at work, but when you get to their office, you find out they are abusing children, treating them as slaves. They defend themselves, saying, “It’s the most efficient way to increase productivity,” and, “It doesn’t matter, they live in other countries so you never need to see them.” Here’s the thought experiment: Would you divorce your spouse?

Believe it or not, this perfectly describes the situation I’m currently in with Hershey’s chocolate. It was recently brought to my attention that Hershey’s is an unethical chocolate company. Their cocoa is grown and harvested by slaves. I was devastated to learn this. How could something that tastes like love and happiness be made with everything but? How could the one thing I’ve always depended on to spread joy and peace be one of the products that are terribly wrong with the world? In spite of my love for Hershey’s chocolate, I immediately made the decision to boycott Hershey’s and other chocolate companies that make my favorite treats, which include and are unfortunately not limited to Reese’s, Kit Kats, M&M’s and the Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Even though using child laborers has been technically globally illegal since the 1970’s, it’s a common practice with big businesses, including Nestle, Mars, Kraft and ADM Cocoa. Chocolate companies usually get their slaves from parents who can’t afford other mouths to feed. Some children volunteer to work for the one to two dollar-an-hour pay because they need work to support their families. Hershey’s has children as young as five working for them, doing things like climbing tall trees, cutting down cocoa beans with machetes and carrying bags of cocoa that are sometimes bigger than them. Can you imagine your child holding a machete, let alone trying to use one to pry open a large bean? Some children are even whipped for going too slow or trying to escape.

Even though I love the taste of Hershey’s, boycotting it was an easy choice to make, as it should be for everyone else. The best way to get a company to change is for large numbers of people to boycott them. Hershey’s shouldn’t be able to air commercials about family, friends and sharing sweet moments while they’re forcing children to do unfair amounts of labor. Not only are those ads hypocritical, but they are also cruel. There are lots of ethical food companies out there, including chocolate companies. Unfortunately, not many people have heard of them. Here is a list of some slave-free chocolate companies: Aldi, Askinoise Chocolate, Dandelion Chocolate, Forever Cocoa, Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate, Habitual Chocolate, Lillie Belle Farms, Montezuma’s Chocolates, Plamil Organic Chocolate, Pure Lovin’ Chocolate, Rapunzel Pure Organics, Sappho Chocolates, Sweet Riot, Sun Eaters, Organics, Taza Chocolate, Terra Nostra Organic, Terroir Chocolate, TCHO, Theo Chocolate, The Original Chocolate Bar (Houston, TX), Tobago Estate Chocolate, TONY’S CHOCOLONELY, Vivani Chocolate, Vosges, Wei of Chocolate and Zotter. The full list is, thankfully, even longer.

It’s been a month since I gave up Hershey’s. If I can do it, I promise you can too. It’s true that chocolate produced without slaves is more expensive, but it’s worth it. It shouldn’t be hard to do the right thing. There is nothing in the universe delicious enough to be worth the abuse of children.

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