coffee is important!
coffee is important!
SLAVE LABOR IN THE COCOA INDUSTRY IN IVORY COAST
-Americans spend $13 billion a year buying chocolate cookies, chocolate candies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cakes, and other chocolate treats
-About 40% of the world’s cocoa comes from Ivory Coast
-children are frequently used as cheap or free labor
-in 2002 it was discovered that 284,000 children were trapped in bonded labor on cocoa farms
-some children work on family farms
-other children are trafficked by businessmen known as ‘locateurs’
-10,000 of these children working on cocoa farms have been trafficked from surrounding countries, the majority of which are Mali, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, West Africa’s other cocoa producers are also known to receive and provide trafficked children.
-children will work 12 hours hacking cocoa pods off trees with machetes
-they spray pesticides directly on the cocoa beans with nothing to protect their own bodies from the harmful chemicals
-cocoa farms in Ivory Coast are generally tucked deep in the jungles, so it is difficult for the government to know if children are being exploited
-children are either smuggled through back road borders or are found in the villages near the cocoa plantations and are forced to work, keeping them out of school and in dangerous working conditions for which they are not paid.
Just in case you are a visual person:
This one is different…
CHILD LABOR IN THE BANANA INDUSTRY IN ECUADOR
-Ecuador is the largest banana exporter in the world (1/4 of bananas sold in US)
-nearly 600,000 children work in the agricultural sector in Ecuador
-they start as young as eight years old
-workdays are twelve hours long on average
-most earn on average US $3.50 per day, only 60 percent of the legal minimum wage for banana plantation workers.
-they are exposed to pesticides, use sharp tools such as knives, machetes, and short curved blades, haul heavy loads of bananas from the fields to the packing plants, lack potable water and restroom facilities, and experience sexual harassment from supervisors.
-they handle insecticide-treated plastics used in the fields to cover and protect bananas, directly apply fungicides to bananas being prepared for shipment in packing plants, and continue working while fungicides are sprayed from planes flying overhead. Sometimes the children are provided protective equipment; most often, they are not.
-the drinking water available from canals is usually contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers, and human waste
-the various adverse health effects that they suffer shortly after pesticide exposure, including headaches, fever, dizziness, red eyes, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, trembling and shaking, itching, burning nostrils, fatigue, and aching bones.
-sometimes they will attach harnesses to themselves, hook themselves to pulleys on cables from which banana stalks were hung, and use this pulley system to drag approximately twenty banana-laden stalks, weighing between fifty and one hundred pounds each, over one mile from the fields to the packing plants five or six times a day. Some of these boys stated that, on occasion, the iron pulleys came loose and fell on their heads, making them bleed.
-Dole Food Company, Inc. (Dole), Del Monte Fresh Produce Company (Del Monte), and Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (Chiquita), do not adequately enforce their own labor laws.
“When the planes pass, we cover ourselves with our shirts. . . . We just continue working. . . . We can smell the pesticides.”
-Enrique Gallana, a fourteen-year-old working on plantation San Carlos in the canton [municipality] of Balao, approximately seventy miles south of Guayaquil in southern Guayas province.
“They are fired if they try to unionize. . . . There is not a company that would not fire them. The temporary worker that gets involved in [unionizing] already knows that he’s out. . . . Temporary workers are [hired] so as not to have problems with unions. In the moment that the temporary workers unionize, they are fired.”
-Martín Insua, minister of labor and human resources of Ecuador.
Human Rights Watch interviewed three young girls, ages twelve, twelve, and eleven, who described being sexually harassed by the then “boss” of the packing plants on San Fernando and San Alejandro, plantations of the Las Fincas group. Human Rights Watch observed a roadside sign bearing the Dole logo above the name “Las Fincas,” strongly suggesting that the plantation group primarily supplies Dole. Marta Mendoza, a twelve-year-old who began working on Las Fincas at age eleven, explained to Human Rights Watch, “There is a boss at the plant who’s very sick. . . . This man is rude. He goes around touching girls’ bottoms. . . . He is in charge there and is always there. He told me that he wants to make love to me. Once he touched me. I was taking off plastic banana coverings, and he touched my bottom. He keeps bothering me. He goes around throwing kisses at me. He calls me ‘my love.’” Fabiola Cardozo, a twelve-year-old who began working on Las Fincas at age ten, similarly commented, “The boss of the packing plants . . . says, ‘Oh, my love.’ When we bend down to pick up plastic bags, he says, ‘Allي para meterle huevito.’ [‘There is a good place to stick my balls.’]”
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