Cocoa Kids
Much of Hershey’s chocolate is made from cocoa grown in West Africa, an area where many growers use child labor. PHOTO:International Labor Rights Forum

By OCTAVIA DAVIS AND LISA GOODMAN

AFRICA: Child Labor Behind this Chocolate

Students and activists came together on June 8 to protest in front of the Hershey’s store in Times Square, New York City. Why protest chocolate? Hershey’s uses cocoa that may have been produced by children. About ten years ago, Hershey’s agreed to ensure that no children are involved in production, but they have not kept that promise, according to The Campaign to Make Hershey Fair Trade. During the rally, students marched and chanted, “What do we want? Fair Trade! When do we want it? Now!”

“The illegal use of child labor in chocolate production by Hershey and other chocolate-makers must stop,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. “With this rally in Times Square, we are making sure that these companies hear that chocolate produced by children is a crime.”

Melody, a student from Public School 34 in New York City, said she would keep up the protest. “I like helping people, and I want to stop child labor.”

hershey protest
Students protest at a Hershey’s store in New York City demanding that the company make sure that child labor is not used to produce chocolate. PHOTO: International Labor Rights Forum
Students protest poor working conditions at a Hershey warehouse in Pennsylvania. PHOTO: Rick Smith
Students protest poor working conditions at a Hershey’s warehouse in Pennsylvania. PHOTO: Rick Smith

PENNSYLVANIA: Taking Advantage of Student Workers

On August 17, hundreds of foreign student guest workers walked off their jobs to protest working conditions at a Hershey’s chocolate packing plant in Pennsylvania. They came to the United States as part of a cultural exchange program set up by the U.S. State Department, but they ended up packing chocolates at the Hershey’s plant in exploitative conditions.

One of the students told Jobs with Justice, “They don’t care if you are small, don’t have the power, haven’t eaten- they just care about their production.”

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What You Can Do:

Learn more and share it with your friends. Check out these websites for information:

jwj.org/hersheys

www.raisethebarhershey.org

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WHAT IS FAIR TRADE? A system in which companies pay farmers enough money to support their families and communities.

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