Stop the Traffik
There is nothing quite like it. The smell, the texture, the taste! As you break open the wrapper and sink your teeth into the snack that transforms your sluggish body slouched in the chair in the middle of the afternoon, to come alive re-energised for the rest of the day's work.
A remarkable product. Sold all over the world in vast quantities. But there is a problem. You can't see it when you buy your favourite snack but there is a terrible truth. Nearly half the world's cocoa is harvested from the Ivory Coast. Thousands of children, mainly boys, are trafficked to be used as slave labour to pick the cocoa pods that are the raw material for our sweet tooth.
The figure of an estimated 12,000 children trafficked to work on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast is based on the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Report from 2005, “Combatting child labour in cocoa growing.” “many child labourers came from impoverished countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo. Parents often sold their children in the belief they would find work and send earnings home. However, once removed from their families, the boys were forced to work in slave-like conditions. In the Ivory Coast alone, nearly 12,000 of the child labourers had no relatives in the area, suggesting they were trafficked."
STOP THE TRAFFIK launched a campaign demanding that the chocolate industry put TRAFFIK FREE chocolate on our shelves. The industry has spent too long dragging their feet whilst never actually denying the problem. We worked with individuals in the media who had hi-lighted this issue, we spoke about it everywhere we went. We never used the word boycott but gave people the incentive to seek out fair trade chocolate as it was the best way to eat a chocolate bar that was free of trafficked labour. We set up the Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing code with other campaigning organisations around the world. The most important part of our campaign has been the diverse resources for communities to use: chocolate fondue parties, Christmas and Easter awareness campaigns, March on Mars and much more. In the end change comes because thousands and thousands of ordinary people vote with their purchasing power and add their voice.
Change is coming. Cadbury's has announced the production of 'Dairy Milk' that is traffik free, certified by the Fairtrade foundation and is in the process of finding its way onto our shelves in stores in the UK and Ireland. Just a couple of months into our March on Mars campaign, MARS waited for a couple more weeks and then announced on Easter Saturday this year that they would be launching a traffik free 'Galaxy' bar for the UK and Ireland at the beginning of 2010 and added their commitment to make their global production of chocolate traffik free by 2020.
Change is coming but the victory is not yet won.
STOP THE TRAFFIK congratulates the companies where progress has been made, but promises have been made before and just as consumers vote with their purchasing power, so we want to see the traffik free chocolate on our shelves to buy and know that the mark on the wrapper confirms that no child has been bought or sold in the production of our afternoon treat.
Our chocolate campaign is one place where we are fighting to stop the traffik but there are many more. We are a global campaign with thousands and thousands of active members in over 60 countries and coordinating partners in Holland, Belgium, Australia, America, United Kingdom, India, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan with many others emerging. We have grown in an extraordinary way since our beginning in 2006. But this is an extraordinary crime.
One person is trafficked every minute around the world. Every border, country, city and town is affected by trafficking. It is the fastest growing global crime. STOP THE TRAFFIK has working partnerships with the United Nations as we work with UN GIFT (UN Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking) and with SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) and other global and national agencies. But, the purpose of STOP THE TRAFFIK is to provide community action in towns, schools, businesses so that people are made aware of this issue and can do something about it. We are developing ACT (Active Communities against Trafficking) groups across the world made up of volunteers who want to do something in their own community to stop the traffik. We have resources for businesses travellers and are looking to work with the financial sector always intent on enabling people to take action and be part of the fight that we are in.
On October 14th 2009 START FREEDOM will be launched from the United Nations Headquarters in New York. An 8 minute web cast will stream live across the world to schools and young people. We have created 4 toolkits that will be downloadable for use in schools and youth projects and translated into Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, Russian, English and Dutch and Hindi. START FREEDOM week will take place in March 2010 where we will share all that the young people have done and create the greatest freedom show the world has ever seen.
You can download the film and sign up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyjGt3RU6Uc&feature=channel_page
To live lightly is to live justly.
We look to the day when every chocolate bar on every shelf is traffik free.
STOP THE TRAFFIK believes and demonstrates that change is coming.
Live Lightly, live justly and together fight for those who are trafficked so they can live freely.