ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) has a message for anyone intending to buy chocolate this Easter – make sure it's slavery-free. Source: MNNews.today.
Australians will spend approximately $2 billion on chocolate at Easter this year and ACRATH says much of it will be chocolate produced using child labour from West Africa.
Christine Carolan, the Executive Officer of ACRATH said buying slavery-free chocolate at Easter gives people the opportunity to take a stand against human trafficking and slavery.
“We know that some children, working in some of the cocoa farms in West Africa are trafficked. Many others work in dangerous conditions for little or no wages and cannot attend school,” Ms Carolan said.
To purchase slavery-free chocolate, look for one of three labels – FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified. These labels show that the cocoa beans used in the chocolate’s production have been sourced ethically, from farmers who engage in good labour practices.
“If you buy chocolate with one of the three slavery-free labels you can be sure that the cocoa beans used in the chocolate’s production have been sourced ethically, from farmers who engage in good labour practices.”
Slavery-free supply chains are becoming a major issue within the Church and in the wider business community, not just at Easter.
Two of Australia’s largest archdioceses, Sydney and Melbourne, are moving to ensure their supply chains are slavery-free. Sydney has already established a taskforce, with the aim of purchasing only slavery-proofed products and services. Melbourne is set to follow this lead.
ACRATH’s call is in line with Caritas Australia, which funds projects such as cocoa production in Bougainville. In this project, young people in Bougainville are learning cocoa production skills. This ensures they receive a fair price for their crops at the market and helps break the poverty cycle.
“Lent is a very important time for schools who raise funds for Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion,” Ms Carolan said. “We support this wonderful project and ask schools and parishes to remember to use only slavery-free chocolate in their fundraising.”