Not a blog about the science or practice of travel through books, but perhaps rather about science, practice and travel through books.

The not-so-good candymaker

Beeing a child certainly had some advantages. I remember reading Roald Dahls fantastic Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, with all it’s magic. I remember the soundbook with all the funny sounds. I remember the good candymaker…

In 2005 it may look like the story comes true. Together with the movie based on the book, Nestle launches several kinds of Wonka-chocolates. In five chocolates, there are a hidden goldticket, just as in the book. Not very surprisingly, three Wonka-cholates are now among Nestle’s five most sold products.

But sadly that’s where the similarity between the book and the real world ends. In the real world The International Labor Rights Fund and several reputable civil rights firms has filed a suit against Nestle. The complaint alleges their involvement in the trafficking, torture, and forced labor of children who cultivate and harvest cocoa beans which the companies import from Africa.

Wonka-chocolate made by child-slaves? Not by sweet fury animals? Today’s downer.

Nestle Halloween Banner

The worst is that the world has been knowing about this for quite a long time. In 1999 two UK filmmakers traveled into rural Cote d’Ivore in West Africa. What they filmed was shocking… Young boys forced to harvest cocoa for chocolate, locked up at night, given very little food and often beaten for slow work or disobedience. After massive pressure, the chocolate industry sat a new standard for CSR with the so-called Harkin-Engel protocol in 2001. Slavery should be eradicated within July 1, 2005. Hurray!

July, 1, 2005 has passed. Not much has happened. Or as the Chocolate Industry says it: The work continues…

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