The Dark Side of Chocolate

47 minutes 8.2/10 based on 9 votes

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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Discuss This Documentary

  • Ert

    Is there anything left in this world which isnt controversial? Its like every industry today has a dark side…

    • d8ni3l

      I totally agree Ert..Its quite depressing..

  • Rosa

    Hi! Im from Spain, my english is very poor so sorry! but i hope that you could understand me. I would like to know how can i download “the dark side of chocolate” in my computer because here in Spain people dont watch it so i wish i can subtitled it into spanish with help of my friends and spreading it. The whole world should know it.
    Thank you very much,
    Rosa

    • Hi Rosa, this video is also on YouTube with English subtitles. I’m sure you can find an application to download YouTube videos through a quick Google search to attain the film. Good luck!

  • Maestra Sierra

    I feel for the man in the first video (the one who was caught crying), because situations like this one can be so frustrating that it comes down on one like a ton of bricks and forces one to cry. We can’t stop events like the one show in this documentary, but collectively if each of us do good for a single person, we will change the world as a whole. Unfortunately there is so much greed, apathy and slothfulness (sloth allows for poverty to occur) in the world, especially from the richer nations, that nothing changes and only worsens. It’s knowing this that angers me more than anything, because events like this can be prevented if the majority of people stop being such greedy, lazy beings.

  • Jamie

    While I understand how horrible it is, and unfortunate, at this point in time, the US government needs to stop trying to be superman and get involved in EVERYTHING that is wrong in other nations. This country has their own problems and the more money we keep pumping into bringing about change in other nations, the more our country is suffering.

    You know how to stop something like this? Don’t take their exported cocoa, once they don’t have buyers, they’ll change their policies real fast. As per the article there are other areas to harvest cocoa, so we would be cutting the problem off at the source. Not to mention the fact that the US is the most obese nation in the world, we could stand to have less cocoa available to us.

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