The Dark Side of Chocolate

While we enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate, the reality is strikingly different for African children.
In 2001 consumers around the world were outraged to discover that child labor and slavery, trafficking, and other abuses existed on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, a country that produces nearly half the world’s cocoa. An avalanche of negative publicity and consumer demands for answers and solutions soon followed.
Two members of US Congress, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Representative Eliot Engel of New York, tackled the issue by adding a rider to an agricultural bill proposing a federal system to certify and label chocolate products as slave free.
The measure passed the House of Representatives and created a potential disaster for Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Mars, Hershey’s, Nestle, Barry Callebaut, Saf-Cacao and other chocolate manufacturers. To avoid legislation that would have forced chocolate companies to label their products with “no child labor” labels (for which many major chocolate manufacturers wouldn’t qualify), the industry fought back and finally agreed to a voluntary protocol to end abusive and forced child labor on cocoa farms by 2005.
The chocolate industry fought back. Ultimately, a compromise was reached to end child labor on Ivory Coast cocoa farms by 2005. In 2005 the cocoa industry failed to comply with the protocol’s terms, and a new deadline for 2008 was established. In 2008 the terms of the protocol were still not met, and yet another deadline for 2010 was set.
Almost a decade after the chocolate companies, concerned governments and specially foundations spent millions of dollars in an effort to eradicate child labor and trafficking in the international cocoa trade, has anything changed?
Miki Mistrati and U Roberto Romano launch a behind-the-scenes investigation and verify if these allegations of child labor in the chocolate industry are present today.

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  1. There are always a lot of angels to an issue or problem. We also would need to look at these despicable issues from other angles such as motives for sending this children for labor? I believe those will be way more heinous and in need of grassroots movements!

  2. than you you save my life

  3. I can’t get the movies to play so that I can here the story to it. Does anyone have any ideas that might help me to view this?

  4. its so sad some kids would die and they barely see their parents :'(

  5. I had no idea about this type of forced labor, so there may be other people in the dark as i was, some how we need to get the message out there, show this film to many and make a decision as a united group to stop purchasing chocolate for a 6 month period of time, i think that would do severe damage to the cocoa industry and chocolate makers as well. I will think twice before purchasing chocolate again.

    • It’s complicated Nikki, removing cocoa income from these countries like that will undoubtedly have immediate and tragic consequences on the workers, they need that money to eat, I know your heart is in the right place, we have to discuss what can be done, maybe it’s better to buy a brand of chocolate that is doing more than the others, Callebaut seems to making at least some effort, then write to the one doing well and encourage them, and then write to the others, and indicate that our purchasing power is being influenced by the level of their efforts going into worthwhile and meaningful improvements in the quality of life for all workers. Talking about it is step one, so keep on telling your friends about the situation and we can have more influence.

  6. This is very disturbing imagine these kids being your children … What would you do to stop it ?Now let’s take that power and change these defenseless children in America’s life 😉

  7. Whatever nothing will change and all be damned if I’m going to stop eating chocolate. Waste of time and effort on behalf of the film maker.

  8. Yoho,
    how ya’ll doing brothers,
    I hope YOAull be making a campaign Out Of thIS .
    thank you ever so much,

  9. Heeeeeeeey!!!!
    you know WHAAAT?
    IT Lokd God, and was very insitful
    i lvd te touch of adding ther CHOCOLATES whihc i LOVE!!!!
    BUt i certinly wont be eting eny =enyomor

  10. The grim reality is what else is there for these children? They come from a culture where they are expected to go out to work as early as 6 or 7. There is a huge overpopulation problem and parents cannot feed their children. Watch this film again and compare the kids at the plantation to the kids in the village scenes. It’s the difference of eating every day. I believe the kidnapping and poor work conditions must be stopped. But look at the girl who was willing to work and did not want to go home to angry parents. There is obviously, although sadly, especially by western thinking, a pool of children who need work to eat and survive. It is hard to be worried about pesticide symptoms 30 years in the future when you haven’t eaten in 3 days.Is it right that a child work? It is the reality. Do you honestly think those kids clustered around the huts are going to school? What is the survival rate of plantation kids to village kids? It’s not pretty and there are no easy answers.

  11. After watching this I don’t think I will be able to look at chocolate again in the same way…… I would be happy to pay extra money for chocolate, if thats what it takes for these companies to hire adults legally.  

  12. why chocolate is so sweet? too sweet to be true, Bitter Valentain’s day 2012.

  13. i would never eat chocolate

  14. What is the situation today? Is it a little better? 

  15. Thanks everyone, who made/make any effort to change this horrible situation! I will share this movie with all my friends! I will also write a letter to Nestle & etc companies with a message, that I stop buying their products! I will purchase Fair-trade chocolate from now! People from all over the world, let unite! When there is unity, there is power! 

    • Hello Solo, I agree with your sentiment. However, these companies signed the Harken-Engle Protocol 10 years ago, and still use child labor. I pledge to boycott them, even after they change their ways, because during that decade, they kept making money on the backs of kidnapped children. They need to lose it all.

      • There are also a few chocolate companies that actually try to improve the situation cocoa farmers are in. The small Dutch chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely has been founded around 2005 to do so.. instead of boycotting chocolate companies, you could support companies that are trying to help the farmers and are buying slave-free chocolate..

  16. Thank-you for this documentary. I can’t believe this is so rampant in the cocoa industry and that corporations seem to be so careless. I think I’ll give up chocolate and cocoa.

    • I think I’ll avoid buying anything labelled Nestle or Kraft as well. The companies involved are so wealthy and powerful, yet they seem to take no action in a problem they should be well aware of. Children are precious and it’s sad to see this widespread slavery exists in 2011.

  17. Makes me not want to purchase or eat any chocolate.

  18. As a chocolate lover, this documentary was a real eye-opener for me, makes me aware of the sad and illegal process that goes on before I buy my nicely-packaged product. So how can I change my buying habits? I’m not going to stop eating chocolate so I need to find a socially responsible alternative. Is Fairtrade any better? For example Cadburys Fairtrade chocolate products….can I be sure that they haven’t also used kids in their cocoa production??

  19. i wonder at capitalism. 

  20. Wow, who knew chocolate was made out of little african kids? Great documentary

  21. A fascinating but disturbing doc. How can things like this still go on ? No responsible company can say that it is not accountable for every stage of the manufacturing of their products.Yet again we see that money is more important than Human lives, but how many of us who have seen this doc will say how disgusting it is but still go on buying chocolate & perpetuate these crimes against Humanity ?

  22. Good video, yet it’s despicable what the major chocolate companies do to make their money.

  23. Cadbury still get their palm oil from questionable sources… I am going to make it a point to get the word out. thank you fro sharing.

  24. Buy Fairtrade. Some Nestle chocolates and a lot of cadbury ones use fairtrade. It has proven to make farmers accountable and actually strives to better their economic and social condition by making corps like nestle pay a fair price for the product along with a premium to aid in sustainable development. There is another BBC documentary on it and they show and actually scrutinize the fairtrade process and go over the cocoa trade in depth like this one.

    It is called the Bitter Truth and it is a BBC Panorama doc:

  25. Greed..WE SHOULD ALL FEEL ASHAMED..w many people will stop eating chocolate even after seeing the documentary?

  26. Shame on the Corporate Companys , Showing no pitty on Innocant Small Children

  27. Shame on the Corporate Companys , Showing no pitty on Innocant Small Children

  28. I wrote to Nestle, Mars & KRAFT to let them know I will not purchase any products until
    accountability is exercised and social wrongs are corrected.

    I advised friends and family to do the same.

    Billions of dollars and “no” power, welcome to the dark side. 10/10

  29. It is disgusting that some people in the world(CORPORATIONS) are contributing to such immorality,one of the lowest thing to do to innocent pure human being ( children ).!FOR WHAT! . JUST TO MAKE MONEY . LIFE IS ALREADY HARD WHY MAKE IT HARDER TO THIS LITTLES HUMANS.AND GUESS WHAT WHEN YOU DIE YOU CAN NOT BRING YOUR MONEY WITH YOU , BUT YOUR MEMORIES.THANK YOU FOR THIS DOCUMENTARY.

  30. feel so helpless

  31. thank you for sharing!

  32. really shocking stuff ! somethings in life you just take for granted 🙁