End Modern-Day Slavery in Brazil’s Chocolate Industry

Target: Torquato Lorena Jardim, Brazilian Minister of Justice

Goal: Crack down on chocolate manufacturers who reportedly put their workers in slavery-like conditions.

Brazilian chocolate manufacturers might be sourcing product from farms that depend on slave labor. Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest producer of cocoa. They are responsible for a majority of cocoa product imports to North American countries, including the US; but if claims made by Brazil’s Labor Office are true, this supply stream may be tainted by ruthless exploitation. In the Brazilian states of Bahia and Para, where 93 percent of all Brazilian cocoa is produced, a year-long investigation has uncovered evidence of what some experts are calling modern slavery.

In the mostly rural states of Bahia and Para, family farms are supposed to work with large industrial landowners in a profit-sharing partnership, but this is often not the case. While the farmers are supposed to have the freedom to work the land and crops that they want to, the recent investigation reports they are often forced into a condition of debt bondage that robs them of autonomy. The Brazilian Labor Office claims that the farmers are often homeless and forced to both live and work on the farm. They are allegedly not given proper tools or training to do their often dangerous work. Child labor is illegal in Brazil, but investigators claim it is commonplace in the chocolate industry.

Please sign this petition to demand that the Brazilian government not turn a blind eye to reports of modern-day slavery happening in their country.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Jardim,

An investigation by your nation’s Labor Office has reportedly exposed slavery-like conditions in the Brazilian chocolate industry. Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest producer of cocoa products, but Brazil’s largest cocoa producer has been implicated in what some experts describe as modern slavery. The Brazilian Association of Chocolate, Peanut and Candy Industries, which is responsible for 92 percent of cocoa products in your country, relies on farm labor from the rural states of Bahia and Para, where unscrupulous landowners may be exploiting the local farmers.

Chocolate production in Bahia and Para depends on a partnership between small family farmers and large landowners. In this relationship, both parties are supposed to freely work and decide how best to cultivate the land; at the end of the day, both parties agree to divide the profits. According to the Brazilian Labor Office, many of the family farmers are trapped in debt bondage to the land owners. Most of the farmers are reportedly homeless and forced to live and work on the cocoa farms; in the end, they have no say in what they cultivate or how they work. The Labor Office also claims that child labor, which is illegal in Brazil, is rampant in many of these farms.

Please do not allow these reported intolerable and illegal labor conditions to persist in your county. I demand that you crack down on cocoa farm owners in Bahia and Para and end what your Labor Office is describing as modern-day slavery.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay




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One Comment

  1. I just love chocolate, but I’m willing to give up that “addiction” just to help and support slavery workers in their inhuman situations, special when there’s children used as slavery workers.

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