It may be the last thing on our minds when taking a sweet bite of chocolate, but it’s the bitter truth: child slavery still plagues the cocoa industry, and the number of slaves is increasing as the world’s consumption of chocolate is increasing. These children are handling dangerous agricultural chemicals, wielding sharp tools, carrying heavy loads, and enduring abuse from their captors.

“The beatings were a part of my life,” said one former child labourer. “When you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”   

Fair trade group, Divine Chocolate, demonstrates that a love for chocolate doesn’t have to cost innocent lives. They are the only chocolate company worldwide which is 100% fair trade and owned by cocoa producers in a Ghanain cooperative called Kuapa Kokoo. Last year, they generated an astonishing GBP 282,000 which was designated to help build schools, along with other projects that are lifting people out of poverty.

Our Global Handicrafts marketplace has been selling Divine products proudly since our very beginnings.

In 2017-18, we sold 2,339 bars of chocolate, and served chocolate drinks in our cafe made with Divine cocoa, loving that our customers can indulge with a clear conscience.

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West Africa is a hot-spot for chocolate slavery. Children as young as 8 can be found putting in back-breaking days wielding sharp machetes or handling hazardous pesticides. Few children on chocolate farms attend school.

Where Divine’s cocoa is grown, things are different. The women who work with their supplier in Ghana, cocoa cooperative Kuapa Kokoo, care as much about investing their communities as they do about the cocoa they produce. The extra income generated by fair trade operations benefits not just the farmers, but the area’s children, like Jennifer (below).

When Jennifer was younger, she had to make a difficult choice: to live with her family or to go to school. Even though the closest school was 2 hours away, education was important to Jennifer and her family, so she left home and attended school far away, knowing it was the only way to reach her dream of becoming a nurse.

Today, though, Jennifer no longer has to make that choice. Her area is home to Divine chocolate’s cocoa supplier Kuapa Kokoo. With fair trade premiums invested by the women of Kuapa, new schools have now been built in Jennifer’s village. She can live with her family again, as well as get the education she needs to become a nurse and care for people in her community.

Global Handicrafts sells a wide range of Divine’s chocolates, including our larger 100g blocks and powdered drinking chocolate, as well as the snack-sized 50g bars available in-store!

* Story and photos courtesy of Divine chocolate.

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