I Just Had A Moment

I just read this excerpt from The University of Victoria’s Independent Newspaper:

«The Côte d’Ivoire, on the west coast of Africa, supplies 46 per cent of the world’s cocoa. According to the International Labour Association, between 12,000 and 200,000 of the children in the cocoa industry there are victims of human trafficking or slavery. Children work up to 100 hours a week and are reportedly beaten if they don’t hurry or if they attempt to escape.

A newly-freed cocoa slave, whose back was brutally scarred from years of abuse, had never tasted chocolate. He was asked what he would say to the millions of people who had.

Tell them when they eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh,” he replied. »

Mind you, I’d just finished reading about impoverished people in a slum in Mumbai:

«Dharavi, the slum immortalized in director Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire,” is home to an estimated 800,000 people who live in an area of less than one square mile, in the center of Mumbai’s wealthy suburbs. »

America’s E-Waste is dumped in their neighborhood.  800,000 people living in one square mile of squalor, rummaging through tons of America’s toxic electronic waste just doesn’t sit well with me.

So, trooper I am, I move on to reading about human trafficking in the chocolate and diamond industries.

«The Côte d’Ivoire, on the west coast of Africa, supplies 46% of the world’s cocoa. According to the International Labour Association, between 12,000 and 200,000 of the children in the cocoa industry there are victims of human trafficking or slavery. Children work up to 100 hours a week and are reportedly beaten if they don’t hurry or if they attempt to escape.»

My reaction?  I cried.  There was this moment when everything stopped and I cried.  Grief is an appropriate emotion here, I think.  But does it change anything? No.  It might differ from our society’s cavalier disregard for the lives of the poor and disenfranchised, but it is merely a drop of water in an ocean.

What bothers me is that I don’t have SOLUTIONS.  This blog only serves to provide awareness and possible ways of avoiding consuming products of unfree labor.  I need more direction.  I have purpose, I just need to do something with all of this knowledge.

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