08 May 2008

Fair Trade



I was reading a restaurant review and it casually mentioned how they sell fair trade coffee. Well, the next thing I knew, I was hysterically crying. My mind was instantly aware of the meaning of  that phrase, fair trade, and the fact that there are thousands of children who are being abused and forced to work under unthinkable conditions to produce coffee and chocolate. I am part of a group called Women of Purpose and we are working hard to fight human trafficking around the world, but it is such a big issue.

I recently attended a conference at my church, where Rani Hong, of the Tronie Foundation, shared her story and spoke of a child who was harvesting cocoa beans and being beaten daily. The child and others working as slaves said they had never even tasted the chocolate that they were working so hard and risking their lives to produce. (I honestly cannot stop crying.)

I walk around the supermarket and I see the phrase “fair trade” here and there and think nothing of it. But behind that small phrase are people’s lives. CHILDREN’s lives. Imagine not being able to run and play but instead being beaten because you didn’t pick enough cocoa beans that day. I mean, honestly. It is horrifying what is happening and people aren’t even aware of it. 12,000 children have been trafficked to Cote D’Ivoire to work on cocoa farms. Stop the Traffik is trying to do something about it. You can download cards to handout when you buy fair trade chocolate.

It’s SO important that we buy traffic-free products. Marisa has a post on her blog about 963 Coffee. I found a Seattle chocolate factory that produces fair trade chocolate called Theo Chocolate.

My husband and I, with some friends, are going to an Int’l Justice Mission benefit dinner tonight. It’s a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I’m really excited to see what I can do to help, but in the state I’m in now, I better bring a whole box of tissues.

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