by Kristen Tebow, RC Kansas/Missouri

Since we have just celebrated a holiday that greatly measures success on costume and candy sales, I would like to take this time to talk about the dark side of Halloween.

We all go trick or treating on Halloween or take our children trick or treating. When I was growing up, I remember the competitions that my friends and I had while we were trick or treating. Whoever filled up the bag of candy first had bragging rights until the next Halloween. What I don’t remember from the early days is wondering where the chocolate in these candy bags came from. Now that I am old enough, I think about where everything comes from.

Here are a few things that were done in the few weeks leading up to Halloween, and also a few ideas that you can do for next year.

 

The International Labor Rights Forum, along with Global Exchange, Green America and Oasis USA, organized screenings of The Dark Side of Chocolate all across the country. This new documentary exposed the ongoing use of child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry in West Africa. It is a great resources for increasing awareness of this critical labor rights issue. 

As part of the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign, they asked concerned individuals to host screenings in their communities throughout October 2010, especially during a national week of action from October 25 through October 31.

For more information, please contact Tim Newman at Tim.Newman@ILRF.org or 202-347-4100

Reverse Trick-or-Treating
Ten to twenty thousand groups of children, college students, and activists (including myself) handed chocolate back to adults during their regular neighborhood trick-or-treating rounds this Halloween. They distributed Fair Trade certified chocolate attached to a card explaining the labor and environmental problems in the cocoa industry globally and how Fair Trade provides a solution. The event, Reverse Trick-or-Treating, was launched to raise awareness of the pervasive problem of child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa fields, to empower consumers to press the chocolate industry for more fair cocoa sourcing policies, to shift the industry toward sourcing Fair Trade certified cocoa, and to inform consumers about Fair Trade companies that are leading the way to industry reform. Fair Trade standards prohibit the use of abusive child labor, contain extensive environmental sustainability protections, and enable farmers to escape poverty.

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