HUMAN TRAFFICKING | China (teaser)


Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, is a grim reality of the 21st century global landscape in both developed as well as developing countries. The human trafficking industry represents a $32 billion industry in today’s market. Plaguing 161 countries, millions of women, men and children are smuggled across international borders where they are exploited by their traffickers to turn a profit. More specifically, sex trafficking occurs throughout the world, and holds to be a growing issue in China. Women and children are the key targets for sex trafficking, and are exploited when they are in susceptible states.

Remember, we are not simply talking about the price of buying and selling milk. These victims will bear the scars of their past for as long as they live. This White Paper offers enlightening information and insightful recommendations to help put an end to this horrible industry, and save countless lives.

Sina’s Story

“Kidnapped at 13 from her home country of Vietnam, Sina was drugged, taken to Cambodia, and raped by a white customer who had purchased her virginity. After that, she was held captive and her sexual services sold to wealthy clients. When Sina was too ill and demoralized to pretend to be enjoying the daily forced sexual encounters, she was beaten and brutally tortured. Sina was doused with water and prodded with electric shocks. She was confined in a coffin with biting ants for days at a time. After years of such abuse, she was rescued in a police raid and has gone on to be an anti-trafficking activist”

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Wang Bangyin breaks down as he hugs his rescued son in Guiyang, southwest China on October 29, 2009. His son was among 60 children rescued from human traffickers. The Epoch Times

A day in my life (2023)


December 25, 2023.

3AM.

It is the early hours of Christmas morning. My alarm goes off – I know that I have to put the presents underneath the tree for the children. I turn to my husband and say in my cutest voice, “Honey, can you please do it? I will love you foreverrrrrr!” He grunts, gets out of bed, and starts bringing down the piles of presents. I turn over and quickly fall back asleep.

6AM.

“MOMMY, MOMMY!!,” my children scream as they burst into my bedroom, “WAKE UP IT’S CHRISTMAS!! SANTA WAS HERE!” My daughter is 6, and my son is 4.  I think to myself, “Wow, if only I still had that much energy. I can’t believe I am almost 32 years old.”

We are hosting my entire family at our new house in Charlotte, North Carolina. My husband was promoted a few years back, and we were finally able to buy our dream house. The one I had always imagined – red brick with black shutters. It has a large backyard for our two Labrador retrievers to run freely, and a giant swimming pool.

The pool is closed this time of year, of course. But even though it’s Christmas, there is no snow on the ground. I am starting to miss the snow. It always makes it feel a little more like Christmas when there is a blanket of white covering the yard.

The children run downstairs to find my parents already awake and sipping their coffee. Just like my mother had always done while I was growing up, I too have started the Christmas tradition of cooking a large Christmas breakfast for the family. My mom graciously helps me out. It is much easier to cook now then it was 10 years ago, considering my smart kitchen basically cooks the food for me. All we really need to do is press a couple of buttons indicating what we want, and in about 15 minutes, it is all ready.

Today, however, I was in the mood for some old-fashioned cooking. For the first time since my son was a baby I cooked from scratch! Aunt Jemima pancake mix, eggs, milk—mixed it all together and put it on the stove. My mom helped me flip the pancakes, since she has barely ever used her smart kitchen—the older generation is still stuck in their ways!!

Thank goodness for our housekeeper—we just got the new Nanny500! It is the first robot housekeeper on the market. Saves me so much hassle! I am just as lazy as I was back in college…

January 3, 2024.

8AM

Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2024! How time flies…back to work once again. I am the head exec of media relations for ESPNU. It is a sister network to ESPN dedicated to coverage of college athletics. Not only did I get a major pay raise when I switched to the company, but it is also headquartered in Charlotte (my dream town), which is one of the main reasons I took the job.

I pack my children their lunches, kiss my husband goodbye, and the three of us hop into my new Audi SUV. The great thing about this car is that it drives itself. I can’t believe that I actually used to have to pay attention when I was driving. Now I can catch up on work, sleep, or anything that I want really. Yep, the car handles the steering, gas, and brakes, with no input from the driver.

After a long day of work, I head on home to meet up with my personal trainer for a gym session over a new hologram interface system. It’s great! He can see me, and I can see him. It is exactly like being in the gym, except he can work with me from his house, and I can work out in the comfort of my own home. Life is so much easier now, I don’t know how it could ever get better than this!! Things really have changed since my college days.

jetsons

Confined by screens no longer!


I always found a huge problem with my television, laptop and iPad—a screen confines them. What if we could turn an entire room into a monitor, where you can have the news on your kitchen table while you place a video call on your fridge? And when you’re done, you can swipe everything away, like Tony Stark in “Iron Man” or Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”.

tony_stark_interactive_3d_hologram

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Imagine looking up at your kitchen ceiling for a moment. See those lights? Well, they aren’t light bulbs; they’re projectors that can display your email inbox or a website anywhere in the room. There are also cameras inside them that translate your simple gestures into computer commands, like going back a page in your browser. No need for a television in this household. It’s on your cabinet. Or your counter. Or the back of you hand for that matter. The combination of microphones and cameras built into your outlet allows you to talk to your computer more naturally. Instead of saying, “Computer, turn off the kitchen light,” you can just point and say, “Shut that off, please.” Because your computer screen is no longer a square, if you are making pancakes, the measurements and instructions could appear next to each ingredient instead of being grouped into a list.

Anyone reading this post enjoy video games? I thought so. Well, imagine playing Halo or Call of Duty, and being able to see an enemy approaching from your peripheral vision. How about being able to look over your shoulder to see how close your competitors are racing in a game? Imagine—instead of seeing a chair painted with light, the projected image would just automatically adjust in order to help your furniture blend in. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Kinect is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 that might be able to accomplish just that in the near future.

The possibilities with this are endless. Let’s change the world.

minority-report

The Dark Side of Chocolate


BehindBars_large

(www.globalexchange.org)

Hershey’s chocolate has always been my absolute favorite sweet. It seems as though most of America agrees, as Hershey accounts for about 42.5% of the United States chocolate market (Raise the Bar). The Hershey Company not only offers dark chocolate, but also a dark side of their business. Inside almost every sweet Hershey chocolate product is the harsh reality that the cocoa used to make the delicious chocolate treats may have been produced under poor conditions, including forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor. Much of Hershey’s cocoa that is used to satisfy the ‘sweet tooth’ of millions of Americans is in fact farmed by African children under the age of twelve. Kidnapped from their homes, they are forced to work long hours with no pay and are beaten regularly. More disturbing, however, is that Hershey is completely aware of this situation and has chosen to do nothing to prevent these terrible labor conditions. In this essay, I will reveal the horrors of the Hershey Company supply chain. I will also compare the chocolate industry to the banana industry in terms of their supply chain practices. I will then utilize the opinions of business ethicists Hartman and Donaldson to explain how Hershey has an obligation to prevent these horrible labor practices by drastically changing its supply chain processes.

In 1900, Milton Hershey founded The Hershey Company, located in Hersey, PA. The company began producing chocolate bars in different shapes and sizes, and over the last century has grown to produce more than 80 name brands of candy products distributed around the globe. Hershey operates globally and employs roughly 14,000 workers (Robbins). It produces around $6 billion in revenues each year, and has a 42.5% market share of the chocolate industry in the United States (Raise the Bar). The Hershey Company went public in 1927, and has dominated its industry for more than 100 years due to the low cost structure of its supply chain. The company imports almost all of its materials used in the production process, the most vital being cocoa beans. At the turn of the 20th century, Hershey proclaimed itself as a leader in corporate social responsibility when the Mr. Hershey founded the Milton Hershey School of undeserved children in 1909. It served as a school for orphan boys, and focused on helping the needs of orphaned children (Hershey’s). Recently however, the Hershey Company has tarnished this reputation due to the horrible supply chain operations of its cocoa imports.

In West Africa along the Ivory Coast—the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans—profits from the $13 billion dollar chocolate industry serve as the catalyst for widespread corruption and abuse. Cocoa farming is not as rewarding as it is thought to be. Most farmers live in poverty and do not receive the large revenues that these products generate. Farmers face constant pressure from a “cocoa cartel” that demands more cocoa beans for less money, and forces farmers to turn to the cheapest labor possible: thousands of enslaved children that pick the cocoa beans, but have never known the sweet taste of chocolate that we have all come to know and love (Off).

Slavery and injustice have always been two key ingredients in Hershey’s Chocolate. Unfortunately, some people remain unaware of this fact. Children younger than twelve years old are put to work in the cocoa fields and paid little to nothing for years at a time. Many of these children are forced to work against their will or are forcibly taken from their homes. Human trafficking in this region is a modern day slave trade for cocoa farmers. A BBC report in 2000 found that hundreds of thousands of children are being taken or sold from their home to work on these cocoa farms (BBC News). A child laborer on a West African cocoa farm was interviewed by BBC reporters and stated, “I was living in Bouake with my grandmother, but my father sent me here to work. I haven’t seen my family for three years” (BBC News). It is not uncommon for poverty stricken parents throughout the region to sell their child in hopes of seeing returns from the money their enslaved children make working on the farms. Sadly, the children work hard manual labor with no pay, minimal amounts of food, dangerous working environments, and endure regular beatings. Many of these children are trafficked from neighboring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso (Raise the Bar). “The United States Department of Labor in 2011 released a study that confirmed that nearly two million children, some of them under ten, worked illegally on West African cocoa farms, which supply cocoa to Hershey and other chocolate producers” (Courthouse News). Once forced to a farm, the children usually experience frequent injuries from working with machetes, carrying heavy loads, or coming into contact with toxic chemicals. The International Labor Organization labels the practices in West African cocoa farms as the Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL), and is actively seeking a solution (International Labor Organization).

It is clear that since at least 2001, the Hershey Company has been aware of the problems that exist at the start of its supply chain, yet it continues to source its cocoa from the Western region of Africa without ensuring that these abuses do not occur in the production of the cocoa that it uses. In 2001 consumers around the world were outraged to discover that child labor and slavery, trafficking, and other abuses existed on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. An enormous amount of negative publicity and consumer demands for answers and solutions soon followed. It all began with an investigative report by BBC that revealed the shocking truths plaguing the chocolate industry’s supply chain. The report investigated the severity of the labor practices in West Africa. Until this report, neither industry workers nor consumers knew much of the child labor and human trafficking used to produce chocolate products. Similar to the Nike scandal, Hershey and other chocolate companies ignored the critics at first. The industry felt that since they did not own the farms themselves, they could not be held responsible for these injustices (BBC News). It wasn’t until 2001 that the United States government finally pressured the industry to change. On June 28th, 2001 the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of starting a slave-free labeling system for cocoa products (Tulane). To avoid legislation that would have forced chocolate companies to label their products with “no child labor” labels (for which many major chocolate manufacturers wouldn’t qualify), the industry fought back and finally agreed to a voluntary protocol to end abusive and forced child labor on cocoa farms by 2005 (Raise the Bar). It would be signed by chocolate industry companies to serve as self-regulation in order to relieve the governmental pressure. It promised to end the “Worst Forms of Child Labor” in cocoa producing countries within the next four years. The Hershey Company was among the companies to sign this agreement.

Twelve years later, while Hershey’s primary competitors have at least taken some steps to reduce or eliminate slavery and other forms of abusive child labor from their chocolate supply chains, Hershey has done almost nothing. A Tulane University Report in 2011 stated that there is a need for government reform because the Protocol has been unfulfilled by the chocolate industry (Tulane). United States Government reports also came out in 2011 and found that an estimated two million children still work illegally on West African cocoa farms (Courthouse News). Additional reports found that child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking were all still part of the cocoa producing process along the Ivory Coast. Hershey is well aware that many smaller chocolate companies in the United States have purchased only Fair Trade certified cocoa for years, thus ensuring that cocoa farmers earn enough money to support their families. However, Hershey claims that while this is possible for smaller companies, it would be impossible for a company as large as Hershey (BBC News). Moreover, other large companies publicly identify their sources of cocoa, but Hershey does not. Hershey’s primary competitors also employ a third-party certification for the cocoa that they source from West Africa. Hershey does not.

The following chart is a breakdown of the funds that are designated by each company to fight child labor in cocoa under the Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group (CLCCG) framework:

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(www.raisethebarhershey.org)

As you can see, Hershey’s commitment was only 17 percent of Mars’ (its largest competitor in the United States). Hershey, the largest chocolate maker in the United States, brings in over $6 billion in revenues every year. As one of the biggest chocolate companies in the world, Hershey is just as responsible as its competitors for the horrible labor conditions on the cocoa farms in West Africa. Yet, Hershey has been parsimonious when it comes to the fight to remove child labor from cocoa fields.

Hershey’s single initiative to fall under the CLCCG program requirements is the CocoaLink program, which sends text and voice messages to farmers to discourage the use of child labor and encourage more efficient farming techniques (Raise the Bar). This program was launched in March of 2011, and has 3,720 subscribers registered in Ghana, where there are an estimated 700,000 cocoa farmers (Raise the Bar). As such, CocoaLink has reached less than 1% of cocoa farmers in Ghana. The Hershey Company provides various statistics on this program in the infographic pictured below.

Hershey-CocoaLink

(www.globalexchange.org)

These statistics, however, can be very misleading to poorly informed consumers. Due to the fact that there is still no evaluation report on the effectiveness of this program, it remains unclear whether these messages have had, or will have, any substantial impact on farmers’ lives.

“Raise the Bar: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company” is a campaign that puts pressure on the Hershey Company to stop using cocoa produced with the WFCL (Raise the Bar). Raise the Bar was created by Global Exchange, Green America, and International Labor Rights. The campaign explains the WFCL in West Africa, how Hershey does nothing to prevent it, and the actions that Hershey needs to take. Raise the Bar brings to light various solutions that Hershey could realistically utilize to begin to combat the injustices. For instance, Hershey should hire reputable, independent, third party certification to ensure that a process is put in place to identify and remediate labor rights issues. For cocoa, the strongest certification system currently available is Fair Trade. As previously mentioned, Hershey has not embraced certification while its competitors have. In fact, only one of Hershey’s chocolate bars is Fair Trade Certified.

An industry that has been very successful in combating the injustices throughout its supply chain is the banana industry. It is really interesting to compare the banana industry, and the progress they have made with Fair Trade, to the current state of the chocolate industry. Within the banana industry, there are as many as ten million people involved in growing, packing, and shipping bananas. As with the chocolate industry, American consumers have only recently begun to think about them and about labor conditions. Although many European nations have helped to create a Fair Trade system for bananas grown in the Mediterranean and Caribbean regions, the United States has yet to develop a similar system for bananas grown in Latin America, where large corporation have always been the dominant force. Similar to cocoa farming, the conditions and prices for bananas in Latin America prioritize the cheapest production possible, causing a frequent violation of labor rights. Bananas that bear the Fair Trade certification mark have been produced by small farmer organizations or in plantations that meet high social standards (Frundt). Under this certification, profits must be equally distributed among the members. Moreover, all members of the producer organization must have a voice in the decision-making process and in the group organization (Frundt). This helps to combat the social injustices that had previously been commonplace throughout the banana industry supply chains. The chocolate industry would clearly benefit from Fair Trade certification, as the Fair Trade system means that farmers get a premium price for their cocoa, which would hopefully lead to a decrease in the number of children forced into slave labor on cocoa farms.

The Hershey Company should actively take measures to eliminate unethical labor practices from its supply chain, just as the banana industry has done in recent years. Business ethicists Thomas Donaldson and Edwin Hartman help to explain the duties of corporations in the essay “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations.” Donaldson states that duties can be divided into three categories. These categories include: the duty to avoid depriving people of their rights, the duty to help protect people from such deprivation, and the duty to aid those who are deprived. These duties are obligations of corporations, under the condition that the corporation can in fact afford to fulfill these duties, and that the corporation can fairly accept the responsibility of these obligations (Hartman). Let us examine whether Hershey has an obligation to fulfill these duties. Within all three of these categories Hershey has the ability to prevent forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking in the production of cocoa without significant expenditures. They simply choose not to do so. Hershey should trace its supply chain all the way back to the specific farms that supply their cocoa beans, and ask these suppliers to end such unethical practices. If suppliers do not comply, switch suppliers. There is an abundance of cocoa farms in West Africa that would be happy to get the business. With minimal effort, Hershey can protect children from forced labor. As Hershey still utilizes these farms as its primary suppliers, it is helping to sustain these horrible labor practices.

The Hershey Company has both a corporate and social responsibility to change its supply chain processes. Raise the Bar campaign has presented a logical and reasonable plan for Hershey to follow. The balance of power in the cocoa supply chain will remain in the hands of cocoa exporters and chocolate brands unless cocoa farmers and chocolate companies can be empowered to negotiate a decent price for the cocoa crop. Until then, farmers will continue to live in poverty, and child labor will continue to plague West Africa.

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(www.globalexchange.org)

If you have some free time, please watch the following documentary entitled “The Dark Side of Chocolate” to learn more information about child labor and human trafficking within the chocolate industry. The Dark Side of Chocolate is a 2010 documentary film about the exploitation and slave trading of African children to harvest chocolate that is still occurring twelve years after the cocoa industry pledged to end it.

Bibliography

“Chocolate – The Dark Side of Chocolate – Documentary.” YouTube. YouTube, 26 Jan. 2013.  Web. 07 Apr. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dzQ1ryyabI&gt;.

FILIP , IULIA. “Courthouse News Service.” Courthouse News Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2012.

Frundt, Henry J. Fair Bananas: Farmers, Workers, and Consumers Strive to Change an Industry. Tucson: University of Arizona, 2009. Print.

Hartman, Edwin. “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations.” Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.

Hawksley, Humphrey. “BBC News – Ivory Coast Cocoa Farms Child Labor: Little Change.” BBC – Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2012.

“Hershey’s.” Hersheys.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.

“International Labor Organization.” International Labor Organization. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.

“Is Hershey’s Going Fair Trade? Did We Really Win? Not Yet……” Global Exchange Fair Trade Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

Off, Carol. Bitter Chocolate: The Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet. New York: New, 2008. Print.

Robbins, John. “Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate?” John Robbins Official Site. N.p., 19 Apr. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.

“The Campaign to Make Hershey Fair Trade.” Time to Raise The Bar. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

Tulane University, Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer. Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate the Worse Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector. New Orleans, LA: Tulane University, 2011. Print.

Change the World- Blog Prompt 11


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ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

There is a lot wrong with the world today, but maybe we can do something about that….

What To Do

Your task this week is to think of a “60 second idea to improve the world.”  (The link is the BBC podcast where Jordi first heard this)

Please read your post and time it to sixty seconds!  These should be short, powerful, and convincing.  60 seconds is about two paragraphs or 500 words.

You can go big (whole world) or small (fix one corner of the world).  The main idea is that it is an idea that we can envision.

Please post the title (and URL) to your finished idea in the COMMENTS ↓ of this post so we can easily find it.

Contest!

There will be a small prize for the winning idea as determined by the post’s rating (on the star ratings) with my opinion being the final tie-breaker.

Encourage others to see your idea!  Facebook!  Twitter!  Whatever it takes!

Some ideas on traffic from marketing author Seth Godin.

Ideas…

You may have an idea you have been carrying around in your head.  Maybe you heard something you want to promote here.  Total originality is hard. You can look here too for inspiration:

Blog Council 10- We Ripple Outwards


Copyright 2006 Liquid Sculpture - www.liquidsculpture.com

Best Overall Post

 Vinny – Dear Diary…Today The F*ckin’ Cell Phones Crapped Out

Best Sentence

Ava – A World without Google

“Google is my teacher, my parent, and my peer all in one: it provides 1,000,000 answers to a single question that I might have previously asked someone who may have the answer.”

Honorable mentions:

Meghan C. – You’ve Got Mail… in the mailbox outside

Lauren – Letter Writing: The Stone Age

Frank – On Instagram Straight Flexin

Best Images

Caroline – Have We All Become Virtual Slaves?

Best Conclusion

Kyle – Now who’s going to be POTUS?

Geek Award

DJ – Don’t Blame the Phones, Blame the Users!

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GREAT QUALITY OF COMMENTS OVERALL!

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Missing Posts: Alex Alam, Devon Mercer, Son Trinh, Stephen Koullias