One of the reasons the American left can be so completely deplorable is the amount of time they spend whining about pronouns, microaggression, and cultural appropriation while slavery, human trafficking, and child exploitation are still a very real problem they all but completely ignore.
The most common thread behind our nation’s cultural traditions of Halloween, from your local church’s “Trunk or Treat” event to the costume contest at a drag bar in San Francisco, is candy, candy, and more candy.
In grocery stores and big box stores across the country right now, the entrance is lined with boxes overflowing with bags and bags of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters or to fill bowls at businesses, in offices, or at Halloween parties. And one of the most common types of candy we all stock up on this time of year is chocolate.
The United States is home to the largest chocolate market in the world, generating a $24 billion industry. We love our chocolate, especially this time of year. Halloween is just the beginning, as we move into the holidays, it will continue to flow.
But behind this massive industry is a sick reality: child labor, and sometimes, even child slavery.
Forbes recently reported that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture found that there were 284,000 children working on farms as indentured servants, often in dangerous conditions and held on cacao plantations at gunpoint.
As Forbes quotes the BBC as saying, the “Malian consul in the Ivory Coast has had to rescue boys who had worked five years or more without payment and been brutally beaten if they tried to run away.”
When child cacao workers are not held as slaves, they’re paid next-to-nothing, according to The Mirror, who discovered that most children working on African cacao plantations were “lucky if they get as much as £13 a week.”
They also say it is difficult to hold large companies like Hershey’s responsible for where their cacao is coming from:
“But as cocoa passes up the chain from farmer to buyer, wholesaler, exporter, importer, and manufacturer, it is almost impossible to trace where it was harvested. Many big chocolate companies admit it is ‘difficult to guarantee’ they have removed all risk of child labor on small farms in their supply chain,” the Mirror’s report says. “More than a decade ago the industry promised a crackdown after it emerged children are being trafficked into the Ivory Coast and sold into forced labor.”
There are a lot of things to get upset about on Halloween. Many Christians are concerned with the celebration of darkness and death that happens on “All Hallow’s Eve.” News stations warn us every year of the dangers of taking candy from strangers. Young women (and, let’s face it, many men) wear incredibly provocative costumes and seem to compete for who can be the most scantily clad. People binge drink and do drugs and go out looking for trouble.
However, as you stock up on candy for trick-or-treaters or buy it on sale on November 1st, take a moment to think about the exploited children whose sweat and even blood might have gone into the brutal, thankless work of harvesting cocoa. How much do you really need the chocolate?
There are many companies that can guarantee responsibly harvested cocoa, so pay some attention to who you buy from this year, whether it is for Halloween, Christmas, Easter, or just to satisfy your sweet tooth. The culture war is not the only war we must fight as Christ’s Light in this world. Remember the most exploited little ones and the Savior who loves them.
And perhaps, the next time some leftist lectures you about oppression, you can remind them what real oppression looks like.