‘Cadbury Exposed’, a new documentary series directed by Antony Barnett, takes a close look at the famous chocolate brand’s working practices, particularly in relation to children.
The documentary, broadcast Monday via Channel 4 Dispatches in the UK, contains footage showing children, some as young as ten, working with machetes in fields in Ghana to harvest cocoa pods for Mondelēz International, owner of Cadbury, for the United States. the equivalent of less than $3 a day.
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According to The Guardian, this documentary confronts Cadbury with allegations similar to those they vowed more than two decades ago never to do again.
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“It’s horrifying to see these children using these long machetes, which are sometimes half their height,” says Ayn Riggs, founder of Slave Free Chocolate in a quote quoted by The Guardian. “Chocolate companies promised to clean this up over 20 years ago. They knew they were profiting from child labor and reneged on their promises.”
Practices of this nature are of course not new. In 2019, The Washington Post published an article highlighting child labor violations at some of the largest chocolate companies in existence today. In their feature film, screenwriters Peter Whoriskey and Rachel Siegel interview a young man named Abou Traoré as he harvests cocoa on an Ivorian farm. They ask him his age and he is first told “nineteen”, but when Traoré feels that it is safe, he writes in the sand “15”.
Traoré and the four other boys and young men working in the same field traveled from Burkina Faso, a West African country, to the Ivory Coast in search of a better life.
“I came here to go to school,” Abou told The Washington Post for their report. “I haven’t been to school for five years now.”
According to the Mondelēz International “fact sheet” found in the asset library in the media section of their website, their products are available in over 150 countries worldwide. As such, their working practices have variations. In 1988, Hershey purchased Cadbury’s American chocolate business and, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, “as Cadbury demonstrated its commitment to ending forced child labor in the cocoa industry in West Africa West by selling Fair Trade Certified chocolates in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – the same cannot be said for Cadbury products sold in the USA. “