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Chocolate and Slavery (online disucssions)

April 6, 2012

For those who watched today’s film, lets talk about what the film made you think about, how it made you feel, and what you can do with this information?  What are the lessons of globalization, race, age, nationality; what does it teach us about history and politics?  I also am curious why a film like this receives limited attention yet KONY 2012 becomes an international sensation?  Why?
Conversation ends April 12, 2012

  1. Connor McGee permalink

    I found the movie today to be quite eye-opening. It was shocking to see even more proof of child slave labor in the world, especially for companies that I occasionally buy from such as Nestle. The movie kind of made me feel helpless to some extent; many of the major CEO’s and higher ranking people in these companies deny that child slave labor is even going on, and therefore also deny responsibility. This prevents the problem from being solved. If people do not even begin to acknowledge what is going on, there is no way for change to occur. The trafficker featured in the movie goes on to explain that a lot of people are involved in trafficking, and that it is basically a way of life through which some people make money. I would have to say this movie goes as far as showing us that slavery is not over, that even now it is a big problem in certain areas of the world, and it is one that we must continue to work to solve. Educating the CEO’s and those who are denying slavery’s existence might be the best place to start. As for the reason why the Kony video received so much publicity and this one did not… I am not completely sure. All I know is that the video on Kony was very well known in the Facebook community, receiving a ton of attention through posts. I have yet to see any other videos about child slave labor so far.

    • Jake Hiller permalink

      I think that Connor is on the right track with his recognition of CEO’s not acknowledging the use of child labor. I believe that in many companies, CEO’s and high ranking decision makers often don’t even know about child labor or wage issues. However, simply “not knowing” cannot be used as a cop out for executives. It is literally their job to oversee these operations and make sure that they are completed legally and to maximize profit. This has absolutely nothing to do with race or nationality in my opinion as far as the movie goes, and to say that it does have to do with race accuses these executives of being racist. (This would be a burlesque of an argument, since the main CEO accused of using child labor was in fact African-American himself). This is a problem that, more than anything, is occurring because of the globalized marketplace. With jobs opening in other countries and factories popping up all over the globe, it can be a very tricky situation for executives to manage. As for the Kony aspect, I believe we can thank social media. The video went viral in about two to three nights because of people watching a video that their friends posted, and then re-posting, e-mailing, or tweeting it themselves. Sadly, I believe Kony was much more of a “fad” than people actually caring about something important.

      • Joseph B. Gentzkow, Sr. permalink

        Mr. Hiller’s take on the matter is strikingly brilliant.

        Child labor is a non-issue. There is no one who is forcing children to work. In other cultures, there are different ideas about what role children ought to be playing in the family. Child labor laws in this country have been quite damaging to society, as well as to the economy. In many families, young teenagers who want to work after school or during the summer to help support their families are unable to do so. In generations past, boys aged perhaps 10-13 would learn work ethic, the value of a dollar, and money for themselves by working part-time jobs. This is now impossible.

        The idea that the outsourcing of jobs is as a result of racism is laughable. The jobs are sent to developing economies, where wages are low.

        As for the question of why the Kony video went “viral” and this did not, the answer likely is that matters of genocide and war are far more important than anti-capitalist political propaganda.

      • Child labor isn’t the issue; as documented in the video: enslavement of children is the issue

      • Nobody was African American in the film, so not sure who you are talking about. How does colonization fit into your discussion

      • Mallory Nagel permalink

        I also disagree that this was an issue of racism. I think that it was more focused on the manipulation of children and on imprisoning these children that had been kidnapped into work that they received no pay for. The cocoa industry presented in the film exhibited children being offered work and taken from their countries, put to work in terrible conditions, not receiving pay, and then not feeling fit to go home with no money. The children were not chosen merely for being African, but rather for living in countries near the Ivory coast that had families fighting to make a living.. These poor families (especially the children) were lied to about payments and the children enslaved. (Although I do find Conner’s points about the CEO’s do appear rather true).

      • Is there a way to think about race, color, and nation in absence of a 1:to:1 issue of racism? How does the history of slavery in Africa play out here? How does the history of colonization leave kids vulnerable to enslavement? How do ideologies, whether it be white supremacy, Manifest Destiny, play out here? How does the history of extracting resources play out in this context?

    • Check out this article to see how race, xenophobia, and other ideologies (American exceptionalism) plays out within the discussion –

  2. Megan Grichel permalink

    I thought the videos we watched in class were shocking and heart breaking. It was so sad to see the little kids leaving their families to work and harvest. Seeing the young girl with all the cuts and sores and the crying little boy made a huge impact on me. These children are being lied to or forced to work at such a young age. After seeing these videos I am also surprised that this video hasn’t gotten more attention. I think a possible reason would be that I haven’t seen these videos on social networking sites. Kony was somewhat of a trend that caught on. But I think this cause deserves a lot of attention. The man in the movie risked a lot to get this footage. His journey seemed very dangerous and risky, yet he went through with it to expose what his happening in the chocolate industry. When they interviewed one of the executives he seemed to be aware of the child slavery. But he showed no real urgency to solve the issue. Many of the people interviewed seemed to be in denial of the issue. It doesn’t look like much progress was being made. I hope documentaries like this will raise awareness that will pressure chocolate companies to investigate how they get their chocolate. The women interviewed at the chocolate convention would not directly address the issue of child labor. They are obviously aware of what is going on, hopefully videos like this will spread awareness and chocolate companies will make a change.

    • Kimberly Clark permalink

      I was also extremely upset about this whole video. How could everyone in the areas of the plantations be in denial about it? Have they not ever been on a plantation themselves? And the fact that the CEOs of these companies really don’t show any motivation of trying to fix/get rid of the problem is an even bigger problem in itself!

      • Bryce Jackson permalink

        I completely agree with Kimberly, the CEO’s of the companies are doing nothing to try to fix the problem. How are they not doing anything to fix this? Its really a huge problem thats going on because the people that are working in the plantations are in denial about it.It just sets up a business model for other companies because it just shows that these businesses are always noticed for their profits. Also they don’t even show that they want to stop “child laboring.”

      • Diana Hermansen permalink

        I agree 100% with everyone. Its sad to me that the CEO’s of these chocolate companies know about these conditions and don’t do anything drastic to change this. They are in denial but I feel they want to look past it, just to get a good deal on their chocolate and do whats best for THEIR company. How can people be so selfish and insensitive to the fact that they are producing child labor and doing nothing to stop it? Its heartbreaking to see these kids aimlessly walking around those plantations and then realizing they aren’t even getting paid for it. Children should be children, not slaves. And all this just so that us more “privileged” people can enjoy chocolate.

    • Amanda Fu permalink

      The part where the little girl was talking about how her parents will be mad for not bringing home any money was also pretty heart-breaking.

      I agree with Kimberly, are people just trying to pretend its not happening? Like seeing how good their lives are so there couldn’t be people suffering out there? I can understand that it’s hard to imagine, it’s still hard for me but obviously it is happening!

    • Alex Vo permalink

      I also agree that recognition and action are needed to stop child trafficking and slavery. It is a “trickle-down” effect; where if the CEO’s will take on this fight then the impact will eventually be felt by the cacao farmers as well as the traffickers. Although it is horrible, the reason some of the politicians deny this happening is because it is a business. They are scared that any severe change in the current system will decrease the profits of the major export. It is just a horrible reality.

    • Greg Wandro permalink

      The CEO’s should not use child slave labor just to save money. I understand that it makes economical sense, but these are children who are being physically and emotionally scarred. I do not know if the CEO’s are acting dumb about child slave labor or if they do not honestly think it occurs. The cacao farms where they get the cacao are not apart of the chocolate companies. That is why the chocolate companies have the stance of “It’s not apart of our company, so it’s not our problem”.

  3. Reed Clarridge permalink

    By absolving themselves of responsibility, CEOs of the companies we love avoid much scrutinizing by the media, as it’s difficult to easily point the finger at the bad guy. But this diffusion of responsibility is harmful on two fronts.
    For one, this normalizes the practice. When these CEOs don’t need to answer for their silent consent of this practice, it sets up a business model for other companies to follow the leader, because these companies are always lauded for their profits. They even have the same excuses ready for anyone who questions; “we do not support child slave labor, and we are unaware of any of that conduct in our means of production.” Just look at how much work it took for the documentary team to substantiate proof of the practice, and all for the same response they received at the convention.
    Secondly, agenda setting preferences like Kony over issues like this reinforces the general Western narrative of civilization riding a white horse in to rescue the helpless natives or set right our perceived injustices. We tend to prefer stories like Kony over the slave labor practices of Hershey and Shell because we can keep ourselves completely out of any responsibility to the problem, and news really does not like to show (because we do not like to see) problems where we can contract potential cognitive dissonance.

    • Megan Grichel permalink

      I agree that this diffussion of resposibility is especially harmful to fixing this issue. Just because they “do not support child labor”, does not mean it isn’t happening. It can be difficult to target a particular person or leader for the child labor found in the cocoa industry.

  4. Amanda Fu permalink

    At certain points in the film, I felt ready to cry, it’s so horrible that human trafficking exist. Especially with children and you could see in the film, how everyone in the villages and towns knew it was going on but there seemed to be a whole helpless feel to it, like that no one knew what to do or how to help the kids from getting taken away all the time. I’m really glad that the townspeople would go and rescue whatever kids they could from the busses and I was glad that those organizations exist against children trafficking. I actually don’t know what the KONY 2012 videos are, but my guess would be that those videos were much more popular because they targeted someone as the bad guy. This video may have not gotten as much attention as others, such as KONY because it showed the actual traffickers and how they were just trying to support themselves as well, it humanizes the “bad guy” which in some ways can make it more difficult to dislike them. They also showed the chocolate company CEO and how he was absolutely convinced that there was no trafficking going on, which shows that he really believed that the child trafficking was not going on and that they were not supporting it, or that they are just trying to ignore those facts in order to maintain good businesses.

    • Katie Beason permalink

      I also found this film very difficult to watch. Human trafficking in any way is tragic, especially when it involves innocent children. It is good that there are groups and organizations that are making efforts to better the situation, however, I feel that this is not enough. I wish that there was more being done to prevent this, rather than clean up the mess after the fact. With that being said, maybe laws and preventative measure should be taken to monitor people like the CEO who seem to be convinced that this is not occurring and is not a problem.

  5. Hailey Pusich permalink

    This film was very eye opening and very sad to me. I was almost in tears when the little boy was sitting alone on the bench crying because he just wanted to go home. I was a little angry that the people filming the video and talking to him didn’t help get him back home, they just left him there and that really upset me because these are just innocent children. This film made me very sad and my heart hurt for all of these children that are child labor slaves. It made me want to do something about it but I have a hard time figuring out what can I do about it? That sounds really pathetic and cold hearted but I really don’t know how I can help stop this from happening. I’m just one person and I don’t have the power, resources or money to make a big change. I think its going to take a lot of people coming together and taking down the big CEO’s and making them responsible for their actions. As for Kony 2012 I don’t know why exactly that got so much attention compared to the film we watched in class because I think they are both equally important and they both had strong messages. I would guess that Kony was more well known because of the way it was produced and how they spread the word. It was all over YouTube and Facebook and so it reached the younger generation and to be honest I think the younger generation, our generation, is who has the power to help make a change. The Kony video knew how to reach the audience where as the film we watched in class didn’t but I still think it is a very important video that everyone should watch.

  6. The video from friday I wasn’t really surprised about the child labor, what I am surprised about was the man who was close to the president in I believe it was Mali (?) basically came up with excuses and said that what the men filming saw wasn’t what they think. When the filmers responded with videos of children saying they are workers and showing them chopping down the cocoa why something wasn’t put in action. Cocoa is expensive to grow, harvest, and sell I do understand that but so is everything else. The government needs to step up and make it to where children of a certain age cannot work, the 15 year olds I think can work because at 16 in washington and 15 in Idaho you can work, BUT this needs to be balanced with things like some sort of schooling so they at least know the local language and something to help them excel out of the cocoa business.

    As far as this video verses Kony 2012, invisible children has been working hard for several years going to schools around the nation here to show an older video they had and speak. In doing so they fired up our generation (the bloggers, the facebookers, etc.) who explode their thoughts of everything online and once one person says their opinion online on a place like facebook it becomes a little known, once a few hundred schools worth of teenagers post their opinions it not only becomes known it becomes VIRAL! I think if they showed this video more to the ‘Internet-crazed-generation’ more people would know about this and more people would step up and saw something.

  7. DeShaun Mizner permalink

    This film had the same effect on me as all the other films such as Kony, or the Labor videos from India. I felt sympathy for these kids, but at the same time i do feel responsible for the kids and the horrible nurture they are obtaining. I will admit it, i love chocolate. I buy all types without thinking of who picked the cocoa beans and where in the world it came from which once again leads to human ignorance. I am not alone though. I feel that these factories are more about the money than the morals, and the CEO’s know just what to say to get out of such a “complex” question such as “Do you know about the children abductions going on in the Ivory Coast?” We witnessed in the film, the owner of cocoa bean factory LYING on camera, saying that there are NO child slaves, and he made it seem quite convincing. Which is where we all go wrong and take his word for it. I was surprised that when he saw the video of actual child slaves, he admitted that he knew about the problem. It think this film receives less attention because to most people when they hear “child slaves” to “child murderers” they like to focus on the more interesting one. But it surprises me to see that Kony, who has been in power for what, 10 or so years, we all know that chocolate has been around for DECADES> Which means these factories know exactly how the system operates. Public relations does a very good job at keeping the world wide eye shut, and WE are the world eye. I admit that before this film, i had NO idea that children were getting beat and even dying for my selfish indulgence, with something so simple such as chocolate. The only thing I can physically do myself or for others is stop eating chocolate and then persuade others to do the same. But in the end, we all will end up blind as an arrogant bat.

    • Megan Grichel permalink

      I am also a chocolate lover and never considered how the companies obtained their ingredients. I do feel somewhat guilty for in a way supporting child labor. But I also don’t think much of a change will be made if one person stops buying chocolate.

  8. Kimberly Clark permalink

    I felt devastated and helpless for those children after watching this movie. It’s awful to know that they are tricked and lied to to go and work on these plantations, receive little food, no pay, and a slim chance of escaping. The CEO of Saf Cacao and the other important man (right-hand man to President?) really did not show any motivation or care to fix the problem. People with such great power should use it to fix such dire problems as child trafficking and labor. It’s their duty as a CEO or vice president to take action against these kinds of things. And the fact that they’re not doing much about it is extremely disappointing. I believe that this film did not become an international sensation like KONY did was because of the way in which it was presented. KONY was all over news websites, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter…all of the social media networks. If we could get that kind of publicizing for the video we watched in class, I bet a lot more people would be talking about it and wanting to do something about

  9. Hannah Zabel permalink

    I agree with what everyone is has to say about how CEO’s of major corporations that we know and love are not taking responsibility for the actions they have been taking. This film was very hard to watch, but made me realize how unaware I truly am about what is going on in this world. It somewhat made me upset with myself because I haven’t helped to stop these helpless children that are forced to work under these conditions every day. I continue to consume these goods just like the rest of our nation. This film made me realize I want to help to make this issue known. One issue with that is that we aren’t aware of everything because videos like these are not easy to locate, which is something that has to be changed. This filmed has shown me that slavery, child abuse, and human trafficking are forced ways of life for children in this world. The KONY video was one that became known so quickly because of how easily it is to find on the Internet. It was posted all over Facebook, Twitter, talked about on the news, and just last week our school held a program that showed the video. For the film we watched in class to become known it must be spread virally all over the Internet and people will begin to feel the way I did and want to help spread the word.

  10. Tyler Fry permalink

    This video that we watched really opened my eyes just as much as the other child labor videos we have already watched and discussed in class. I think it is an absolutely terrible thing that is going on in other countries and young children should never be forced to work and if they are, should not have such terrible working and living conditions. What the CEO’s are doing is also not good but I do not think we should put a lot of blame on them because they are not directly connected to the workers over seas in other countries. If they were to step up and truly try to make a change and abolish the child workers, it would most likely demolish a ton of the company productivity. the child workers make up a lot of the work force over seas and for the CEO’s to stop a lot of the workers, it would slow down productivity quite a bit and the impact it would have back in the factories and then to the exporters over to the US and Europe would be hurt pretty bad and could make the company lose a lot of money. This is probably why the CEO’s have not and will not step up to make a change. As far as the KONY videos, I agree with previous posts that this has been blown up on facebook and other websites making it very well known around the world. I have not seen any videos or news about child labor until we started talking about it in class. So as far as younger people and kids in college, we would not really see too much news about child labor unless it pops up on our news feed which is sad but in reality is true. So until people start talking about it more in our normal lives it wont become widely known to other people like KONY.

  11. Kate McNevin permalink

    The film about child labor in the chocolate industry was, as everyone else said, eye opening to me. I think people in America and other first world countries tend to have a narrow vision when it comes to what’s really going on in the rest of the world. Like the old saying: “out of sight, out of mind.” Although the movie is heartbreaking and very sad, I can’t say that I feel very empowered to make a difference. I could stop buying Nestle products, but what would that do? Nothing. The film did a good job of showing how embedding child labor is in Mali and the Ivory Coast. This system goes through many people, from how the kids get taken or tricked from their family, to the bus drivers, to the border crossers, to the plantations owners, to the factories, to the chocolate companies. This process involves so many people at so many steps, that it is impossible to believe that one person could do anything about this, even CEO’s of companies.
    I don’t think this problem could be solved until the local people of Mali and the Ivory Coast are given more options in how to make money. These other options need to make a comparable amount of money to what the people make transporting kids now. I don’t really know what an example of these options would be, and I think that is precisely the problem. How can an American who has lived in suburbs their whole life understand the daily life of people in Mali? Who are we to say what will help stop this unfair treatment? Even CEO’s of companies should not be fully responsible because there is no way for them to know how to help stop this issue. Although we, the consumers, perpetuate this issue, I think at its root it is a local problem. Maybe they should hire local Malian people to work in the field and find out ways to get these people what they need. To me, it seems like there is so much corruption in a lot of the government and economic systems in these countries, and this is not a simple issue to fix.
    As far as the Kony 2012 video, I think it did a really good job of getting people excited. It made its viewers believe that something could be done. Regardless of where Invisible Children actually spends its money, the video showed our money being in action in Africa. Also, this video was a lot shorter and the film editing was a lot better. The Chocolate video was long. Nothing that goes viral is an hour long video. Also, it was filled with hopeless images of kids working in Africa. What are we, the consumers, supposed to do about that?

  12. Alex Clark permalink

    Although many people have said that this film was eye opening, for some reason it doesn’t really shock me too much. It seems like most of the products that are imported to America come from some 3rd world country where horrible conditions are likely. The practices and ways in which these chocolate labor camps are operated, could most definitely be comparable to a prison camp. Frankly, it pisses me off, but in the end there’s really nothing I can do about it. We can blame the CEO’s of the chocolate companies in the United States and other nations, but there really not at fault here. It is the Mali Govt. and Agencies in charge of operations throughout the Ivory Coast that are to blame here. Unfortunately, chocolate is one of the biggest exports from these cities; and until they come up with some other way of making a profit, they will keep looking the other way about this slavery issue and business will continues as usual. It doesn’t help that most of the government in these place is basically nonexistent (if existent it is most likely corrupt), and that bribes are normal in order to get what you want. I may sound like a pessimist, but I’m just trying to be realistic here.

    In regards to the Kony video, I guess facebook is responsible for the explosion of people watching the video. I learned about the URF and LRA and their “child soldiers” a few years back when I watched the movie “Blood Diamond”. I think it is absolutely horrible that these rebels drive into camps and kill people and kidnap children just because they want to have some fun. I am glad this issue got some publicity from the kony video; and if I could, I would go to Uganda and do whatever I could to help fix this problem.

    • Michael Anderson permalink

      It makes sense that you are not surprised. For the last month or so we have been learning about poor working conditions in nearly every type of work that brings goods to America. The fact that the chocolate on the Ivory Coast industry exhibits illegal child labor is yet another example. The reason many are surprised is most likely because we do not see illegal child labor in America. This makes me wonder if there are companies and factories located in America that exhibit illegal child labor. Just how most people are blind to the poor conditions in Tomato farms in Florida, it wouldn’t be a total shock to find out about illegal child labor directly in America as many Americans are blind as to what goes on in factories and at farms.

  13. Andrea Grade permalink

    Much like everyone else in America, I’m a fan of chocolate, specifically the dark and often expensive kind. Sometimes I’d see the “fair-trade guaranteed” sticker on the chocolate I purchased but I never thought twice about where the ingredients of the chocolate came from. I never had assumed that my choice in the supermarket could either be supporting or going against child labor. A chocolate bar seems like such an innocent food. At the end of the film when the crew play the documentary in front of Nestle and there is literally no feedback, it’s definitely disheartening. These companies are seeing first hand the effects of their sourcing and yet they go along their day without a thought it seems. Nestle strikes me as an “all-american” company but after seeing the documentary, I decided to quickly Google the company to see if they really are the “American Dream” of chocolate, in a sense. Not only has Nestle been on the media’s chopping board for their child labor in chocolate, but apparently face other media backlash due to their extraction of palm oil from depleting Indonesian forests. It’s amazing how one company can seem to be doing such harm and I’m sure Nestle is not the only perpetrator.

    I think the Kony video received more media attention because it gave its viewers a sense of power. In these documentaries, we see all these horrible issues and problems and are often left with the question “what are we to do about then?”. Even though Kony’s message wasn’t groundbreaking, I think people felt like they had a way of helping, to find Kony, by simply posting on their social networking sites. I wonder that if other global issues took a similar approach to solving their issues if more people would become involved.

    • Brittany Dyess permalink

      I agree!I am also a fan of Ghiradhelli, Lindt”Linsdor truffles” and more, and up until seeing this video, I am unsure if I could enjoy them the same.If companies like Nestle are contributing to child labor, Im sure these other companies are following suite and doing similar things.Even going to the grocery store to buy produce, i will continue to ponder the profits receieved by the imigrant workers. Its unfortunate.
      I was also disturbed when the reporter publically aired the video of his findings and everyone glanced and continued on with their day.Granted they might have thought about it, but did they tell others?did they quit their job the next day?(doubt it) or did the video even cause a reaction from any of them?no one will know unless change gets in more affect.
      And the Kony Case, I agree it gave people a sense of power.Especially how people wee able to buy “Kony kits”..I feel there should be something similar for these children , imigrants, and other labor workers receiving unjust treatment.

  14. Brittany Dyess permalink

    Watching the Film On Child Labor and Chocolate gave me a Different outlook on A lot of similar companies that possibly commit the same acts. It saddened me to see that officials of the Companies whom were also African american Lied to everyone in the room about under age child labor workers working in the fields and factories. One would think as a Community they would want to help each other rather than hurt one another, but in the corporate world Its all about profits,exports,imports, and Production sadly.Watching the Little Boy cry brought tears to my eyes as well as when the little girl in ivory coast had to turn around and return to her family to the little village empty handed, knowing all they would do is turn her around to do it again. Its all about survival and Even parents with morals feel they need to sacrifice their children’s lives to feed the family.
    With this information, i have tweeted about it, I told friends about it, and I feel we as a class should try and raise awareness somehow to the campus and Possibly not sell theses products on our campus. If everyone seen the video we did, I think it can touch peoples hearts and make them want to change and not participate in supporting the labor IE buying from certain companies.
    I too agree that Kony 2012 should be secondary compared to this and have more media coverage rather than collectiing dust in archives.

  15. Greg Wandro permalink

    I really enjoyed the video, and it opened my eyes the workings of child labor. I was always under the impression that the children were taken against their will and forced to work in these horrible conditions. It turns out that the children go to the Ivory Coast with pressure from their parents to go and work to make money. Because the farms that use child labor are not directly linked to the chocolate factories, the chocolate companies feel no obligation to shut the farms down. The reason why the KONY video got so much more recognition than this chocolate video is, in my opinion, because KONY has a child army killing innocent people and no one in the western world is associated with that. But chocolate is a big part of western culture, so people would be more reluctant to watch this video. Possibly because people do not want to think that they are supporting child slave labor just by eating chocolate.

    • Alex Loper 11010258 permalink

      I agree with what you said about why KONY went viral while the cacao farms get pushed under the table. Since doing something about KONY does not affect costs for us, we have no reason to ignore it. Since children go to the ivory coasts on their own free will, how would that change what we can do to stop this from happening compared to if the children were taken from their homes?

    • Madison Magliocca permalink

      I agree with some of what you said, but you also need to remember that although some of the children go because of the pressure from their parents, most are tricked into thinking its something that its not. In addition to that, I don’t think it has so much to do with how we don’t associate children with guns or are more associated with chocolate that has an impact on the popularity of the video. KONY 2012 called for people to make a difference in ways that people can realistically do (share the video and make Kony Famous). Whereas when watching a video about the chocolate, it is truly heartbreaking and devastating because as bad as you may want to help the children, most people don’t know how to go about making a difference or think that they realistically can. This video needed to have a call for action (like stop buying from Nestle and the other companies that aren’t taking responsibility for whats going on with these children). It realistically wouldn’t be a “sacrifice” for society to give up chocolate from certain companies

  16. Edward Benedictus permalink

    Ive always loved chocolate and to this day i still do, and we as Americans never once stop to think where it came from or how it is made. We have been raised with the privilage of just having the option of going to any store and buying a candy bar. So in our minds we dont realize that the people who are suffering are the ones making the chocolate and we dont realize that those people are little kids. Companies do a very good job in hiding how they make things, thats part of the business. When we realize the actual process we feel bad, but we dont do anything about it, yes we say we are going to but I know for a fact that a day or two later this doesnt cross our minds when we pick up a choclate candy bar and buy it.

  17. Alex Loper 11010258 permalink

    The movie really shows how capitalism works in first world and third world countries. As a consumer in a first world country, we tend to ignore how our food and products are obtained as long as we get them. Since we take our good living conditions for granted, we are more concerned about the price of what we buy. If we can buy something at a low price, it just means that somewhere along the line someone got screwed. In this case it is the cacao farmers who are forced to subsidize our chocolate. The CEO of the chocolate factory will do whatever it takes to keep the production costs low so that he can make a larger profit to benefit the shareholders of his company. If he were to ensure his cacao was farmed from farms where the workers are treated fairly, this would drive costs up, causing sales to drop and the shareholders would not be happy with him.
    I think the reason something like this gets buried while KONY 2012 goes viral is that we are desensitized to workers being treated poorly and we understand that if they were treated better, our costs would go up. For something like KONY, it does not affect the way we live, meaning that if we fix this problem, we will not have to pay higher costs for our goods.

  18. Bryce Jackson permalink

    The Film On Child Labor and Chocolate gave me a Different look on companies that commit the same acts. It makes me wonder what officials of the Companies that deals with African American who have lied to everyone in the room about under age child labor workers working in the fields and factories and make them work long work hours and for cheap. People would think that the community would want to help each other rather than having citizens hurt, but in the corporate world Its all about profits and Production. Its all about survival in our world today and if making your children work and even you working for cheap but gets money to support your family you will do it. We don’t really think from how chocolate is made we just eat it and enjoy the taste.

    In high school I wanted a film on Kony and how he is doing child slavery and if everyone was to watch the video I did it would really show the violence of whats going on. It woul touch peoples hearts and they even brought things that kids made and sold them for donation to help stop Kony. If everyone seen the video I did, I think it can touch peoples hearts and make them want to change and not participate in supporting the labor and buying from some companies. But I really agree that Kony 2012 isnt as bad as the child labor and chocolate video that we saw.

  19. Madison Magliocca permalink

    During the movie, I truly felt deeply upset and wanted to conquer the world and just help these children. Seeing the little boy sitting on the bench crying broke my heart. It reminded me what we take for granted on a daily basis. These kids are abducted and taken away from their families, and are upset to be returned because they know their families will be mad if they don’t return with money. I can’t imagine having that lifestyle nor that children the same age as my younger brothers have to go through such horrors.

    The lessons are that age don’t matter in other nations, the only thing that matters is the demand of globalization and the cost of labor to do it. Most countries are poor compared to America and are only focused on bringing in money more so than taking care of their citizens. So many of these huge companies that we buy from on a daily basis are denying the fact that child labor is taking place, thus also denying that it is their responsibility to do something about it.

    I think a film like this receives less attention because people don’t know how to act or make a difference. I felt hopeless after watching this video because I wanted to do so much, yet didn’t know where to start or what to do. KONEY 2012 tried to reach out and ask people to do what we are all good at; use the internet to spread the word around and “make Kony Famous”. Whereas a film that is showing children being beaten and taken away from the families is heart breaking, most people don’t think they can realistically make a difference nor know how to go about doing so.

    I think the way we can make a difference is to go around the same idea of Kony. Shine a light on these companies and make the world see where it is they are truly buying their chocolate from. Although everyone loves chocolate, I bet most people could deny buying it if they knew children were abducted, beaten as young as 8 years old and typically not paid for any of their work. I personally am more than willing to stop buying from those companies, I think its worth the “sacrifice”.

  20. Carlo Dimaculangan permalink

    The film last Monday made me realize how the process of chocolate obtaining is. It’s really crazy how people are unaware of this, because chocolates are almost part of Americans daily life. This made me feel like it’s something I’ve seen before, because I’ve been exposed to corrupt people and government back in my country. The vice president of Mali covering up the scandal is very synonymous to how the politicians really are. It’s really frustrating how hard it is to prevent things like this, especially when kidnapping naturalized in this society. Those kids could have been something they want to be, but no, their fate is controlled by these corrupt people, taking advatages of their weaknesses. SO frustrating. KONY is different in a way, Kony went viral using social media site like facebook, tumblr, twitter. But during the time this was aired, there was no one that spread this on the media. Another possible reason is that this Mali kidnapping is not recognized is that people don’t want to mess with the way chocolates are being made since they love chocolate.

  21. After watching the film about chocolate and slavery I began to think of what kids are going through right now on the plantations. It was really disheartening for me to see how the children are in situations where their family desperately needs money so they are so desperate and naïve to what traffickers are about to do with them. It was kind of a helpless feeling after seeing how the CEO’s and country leaders of Africa turned a blind check to the child labor, saying that it didn’t occur. I’m sure the reason that they do this is because cocoa is their main source of income and they can make a lot of money with child labor. Since the country is so poor it’s sorta like a desperate cycle. They were saying in the video that even the traffickers and leaders on the plantation were living in poverty. It’s sad to see people so desperately trying to make it, and then seeing how much money the CEO’s of the companies are making off of the poor. I think what we can take from watching this video, is that slavery is still going on in this world and that even though it may be a long time before anything gets fixed, we can always do what we can to raise awareness. I feel that the more people that are aware of what is going on will protest and the more people that stand up and say it’s not okay, the more likely it will be that the leaders of the chocolate companies will feel pressured to make changes. So even though I’m still going to eat my chocolate and enjoy it, at least I know where it is coming from and I am aware of the struggle that was taken to get my Easter candy in my basket.

  22. Alex Vo permalink

    This film just reminded me about a topic that many people (myself included) try to ignore based on convenience. There are several parts of this film that are disturbing and are extremely unfortunate to be happening in our world. That being said, there are some parts of this film that will never change and most likely cannot change. Do not get me wrong, there is no excuse for kidnapping children and forcing them into slavery. That is not right and I believe that everything must be done to stop it. Yet, people who are adamant about stopping child labor are just naive. The reason many children go to work is because they need to help provide for their families. These children and their families are struggling every single day just to survive. You can’t just solve poverty in a day. If anything I have respect for these young children that are working for their families when I was still playing with Legos. As for these major companies that are letting this happen, I believe that something else must be done to stop and prevent child trafficking. On the other hand, I do understand how a major company could have trouble regulating every single asset they have. I think of it as if President Floyd had to keep track and monitor every little party here at WSU. These small cacao farms are going to attempt to do whatever it takes to make the best profit. Although poverty and child labor are not going to be solved anytime soon, something can be done about child trafficking and slavery.

    • Grant Schultz permalink

      I find what you are saying here to be very interesting. I completely agree with you as the respect you have to these children. Though I think this could trafficking could be stopped. From what I understand from the video it sounds like these kids are sent to because they are naive about child labor. Couldn’t the Mali government and others just spend some time to educate the citizens about these events occurring? I mean these aren’t huge countries if they invested some money into resolving this issue, I believe it could be resolved relatively quickly.

      • How is this an issue of globalization; as we talked about what impacts Mali’s economy and how does that impact human trafficking? What you mean naive?

  23. Josephine Vorenkamp permalink

    The film was very interesting to watch. I feel like the more time I spend in this class, the more I learn about things that bother me. It’s just not fair that kids are being exploited for free/cheap labor anywhere. No kid anywhere should be burdened with the responsibility of providing for their family. I think back to my easy, painless childhood and I feel sick to my stomach knowing that these kids have faced more hardships than I probably will in my entire life. It makes me so mad that this injustice is swept under the rug and ignored. Sometimes after class I will call a friend or family member to talk. I occasionally bring up things like the tomato workers or the kids in the chocolate video and I get all fired up about it, but it seems like I go back to forgetting about the problems and continue on with my privileged life very soon after. How can this problem be solved? Do we boycott chocolate companies, flower shops, grocery stores and clothing stores? I think talking about it is a good place to start, because the more people know about and discuss these problems, the better the chance of fixing it. It would be futile to boycott every business, because most people rely on those products and services every day. But showing that we are aware of what is going on behind the curtain of big businesses is a good start. If we make those big businesses responsible for their workers and subcontracted businesses and refuse to let them deny blame, they will have to start becoming more involved in fixing the problem.
    The difference between this movie and the KONY 2012 video is that that film was created to go viral. The messages within the movie were constantly focused on spreading the word. The chocolate video seemed more informative and concentrated. However, despite the instant popularity the KONY 2012 video received, that attention was very short lived. I think problems in the chocolate industry and other places are more likely to garner long lived attention because we use those products so often.

  24. Colin Findley-Meier permalink

    Videos like this and stories like this constantly remind us how lucky we are to grow up in the place we do and to have the privileges we do. We should all be extremely thankful that we do not have to deal with the life decisions of these exploited workers. Not only do we not have to deal with those sort of decisions, but we also take advantage of these workers on a daily basis with no hesitation. In a world with such a huge focus on social media where something like KONY can reach such a huge audience, why can’t issues like these be more known? The first time I heard of KONY was from a Facebook post. All of a sudden it blew up and everyone was talking about it. Without social media, KONY would never have been a big deal in my opinion. For something like this that affects basically every single person in America, you would think videos such as this one would become viral as well. But it does have something to do with the big corporations trying to make money. Obviously they will do anything they can to cover up investigations into their practices. If the CEOs allow their companies to be exposed and the information gets out to a wide audience, it could really hurt their companies as well as their own wallets.

    • I get what you are saying here, but is it really about luck?

    • Mallory Nagel permalink

      One of the biggest reasons I think Kony is more publicized than slavery in cocoa fields might be because the chocolate industry connects to a large portion of Americans. By taking notice of the abuse in chocolate production, it would make many people feel like they have contributed to the problem and bring on guilt. In my opinion, many Americans would rather focus on a problem they did not “contribute” to, in order to feel they had helped a good cause and so that they would have no guilt in helping create the original problem.

  25. Mallory Nagel permalink

    The movie about slavery in cocoa fields honestly surprised me. Of course, I had heard about the abuse and the terrible conditions, but I had never heard about the children being kidnapped from one country to be put to work in another. The fact that a majority of the workers of the cocoa fields were 11 to 14 years old made me cringe. The fact of actually seeing the abuse made it more of a reality to me, but I believe that may be the reason not very many people know about the slavery of children in cocoa fields. Many individuals in well-off countries, such as the United States, are not used to be encountered with problems such as this. The fact that chocolate and the cocoa industry are tied so closely to Americans may contribute to the avoidance of the topic. To acknowledge the abuse of the cocoa industry would be to accept that the chocolate we consume is the product of slavery and that we are contributing to the problem. Topics such as Kony 2012 receive much more attention because Kony’s abuse is not something that many people feel like they have supported through their actions (the way buying a chocolate bar may be supporting the system of oppression in the cocoa fields). The lack of personal responsibility that individuals feel from Kony and the appeal of stopping Kony to the emotions within most individuals make it a subject easy to circulate and gain attention. If the information about slavery in the cocoa fields became more wide-spread, there may be a possibility for consumers to put pressure on the chocolate companies and to help stop the abuses… but then again that might just be my own hopefully thinking.

    Also, the denial by people high up in the Chocolate industries may contribute to people not accepting that there is slavery in cocoa fields. The fact that the cocoa fields are away from the eyes of many consumers helps the arguments from CEOs that there is no slavery to be accepted more widely. Until more evidence is circulated to the general population, there will be no change.

  26. Todd Mehrkens permalink

    Before the learning about the film I knew that the cocoa industry had many issues manly dealing with the issues of child labor and selling cocoa at dirt cheap prices to chocolate producers. What really shocked me from watching the film was how they got child workers, I always thought that they were just voluntarily working to get money for their family, but never thought they were kidnapped from their homes and beaten to work as slaves. It was heartbreaking that one of my favorite things in the world, chocolate, caused so much suffering to families and children just to harvest the cocoa at low prices. With the information I learned from the video, the best thing I can do to help this problem is to spread the word, since a majority people don’t know this problem, so they can’t do anything to help resolve it. This film taught me that the governments don’t really focus all their attentions to problems, such as child enslavement, as long as they say to the public that they have laws to stop it and or/ the problems help their economy. When comparing this film to KONY 2012 there are many reasons why attention is different for issues even though they both relate to child enslavement. The reason KONY 2012 has gotten more attention is because this issue involves many deaths while the cocoa industry have a tiny death count. In my opinion the reason KONY 2012 became so popular was due to the film/ YouTube video being extremely well done and edited, this video kept the audience attention while the cocoa film slowly lost the attention of the audience. In other words the more captivated the audience is, the more popular it becomes.

  27. Grant Schultz permalink

    There were many shocking issues that I saw while watching the video about the cocoa industry. I had heard about the child labor and other aspects of the cocoa industry. Though I never thought it would be so easy for the plantation owners to do what they have been doing. One would think that they would have some deep secret and it would be a complex system for stealing the children and taking them across the border. Though in reality it is a very simple process and it seemed like most of the locals that lived in the major towns knew of this issue. This showed me how little the Mali cared about all their children being sold into slavery. In America once one child is stolen the amber alert is set off and in a matter of a day that child’s face could be on every national news station. Though Mali, even though it wouldn’t cost much, does not care enough to educate the rural villages about this problem. Now this issue goes much deeper then Mali, the government of the Ivory Coast is just as much to blame for this. These children are working in board day light the farmers are trying to hide the children; they know the government doesn’t really care about all these kids working. Not only does the government allow these cruel this treatment of children they actually try to cover it, by telling reporters that the kids are on a vacation. This is sickening to me that these officials will not do the right thing.
    The main difference for me between Kony and cocoa farmers is that Kony is a single person. It’s much harder for a video to portray an entire nation government and their major business as evil then it is to paint the evil that Kony has committed. Also Kony is killing children and training them to be killers. Even though both of these acts are awful I believe killing them is the worst crime. Hopefully the Kony movement will continue to grow in numbers and then maybe if it is effective this movement could easily make the transition to the Ivory Coast and child labor.

  28. Anne Kenney permalink

    I found the movie to be quite astounding, learning that there are 300,000 children enslaved in the chocolate industry is something I am surprised more people are not talking about and trying to change more publicly. It is amazing to me that companies would care more about the consumption and profitibility of their product than for the lives of little children who are tricked in to helping them do it.
    I would say that this movie gives a lesson of age and nationality because, the children are being trafficed into the Ivory Coast from other countries like Mali and Cote d’Ivior. The strategy behind this is that the children become isolated since they do not speak the same language as the peolple around then and most likely have not grown up in similar ways. This combined with their age lack of available education makes them easy to persuade and take advantage of. The companies are well awhere that they are breaking th elaw by having children working on their farms this doesn’t even phase them, and the government looks the other way saying that all those children on a bus are on vacation simply because of the time of year they were seen.
    These examples are showing how these countries are using age and nationality against the people enslaved in the farms.

  29. Katie Nelson permalink

    After watching the film on the chocolate industry, I was disgusted with how they go about their business. The actions taken against the children are appalling, and I’m shocked that there hasn’t been any attention given to this cause. Children were robbed from their families and told deceitful promises with nothing to show for it. It’s even worse that they were afraid to go home after because they knew their parents would ask for money. The conditions these children worked under were heart breaking as well, how could we sit and eat chocolate when we know what these kids are going through?

    I think this story is in the works for growing popularity, because like every cause, it can take time to gain mass attention. When comparing it to Kony 2012 we need to remember that the Kony movement for quite some time. I actually watched the Invisible Children video in my high school History class where we were informed about the whole thing. I was actually quite surprised when this boomed in popularity just weeks ago, I didn’t understand how it was just now getting attention. But this gives me faith that the Chocolate industry will soon gain this popularity in just a few years. But we need to strive to raise concern about the subject so other spread the word as well.

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