top of page

The Cost of a Boycott vs. The Cost of Chocolate Produced Thru Exploitation

In recent years, there has been a growing movement to boycott cocoa products that are produced using child slavery. The law (Harkin-Engel Protocol) mandates it by 2025. Of course, it used to be 2014 and originally 2001...Advocates argue that by refusing to support these products, we can send a powerful message to the industry and help put an end to this horrific practice. However, opponents of the boycott claim that it would result in the cost of losing small family farms and have a significant financial impact on both producers and retailers. Some of the financial impact, if from lack of child-slavery in cocoa, is the point.

A starving child, next to an obese kid eating chocolate
This Been COVERED UP for 120 Years

The Argument for Small-Family Farms Getting Ruined from a Boycott

One of the main concerns raised by those who oppose the boycott is the potential impact on small family farms. These farms often rely on income from cocoa production to sustain their livelihoods. Without the support of global markets for their products, they would face financial hardship and potentially be forced out of business. In all cases, these children, live with their families and have access to education. In West Africa, where the "worst-forms" of child-slavery are, thats just not the case. The "worst-forms", are the highest costs to pay in the world. The worth of 2 million black children's lives is FAR greater than the monies, (their lives are worth more than money) created by their enslavement; thats especially for, the already rich, oppressive and blind-eyed (biased) "Big chocolate". industry, who doesn't even acknowledge that they all happen to be black. Spoiler alert, its al because of colonialism. "$89 Billion dollars includes the theft of their slave-labor." - Author

a scale weight the cost of child-slavery v slave-free cocoa
The Cost of Child-Slavery V. Slave-Free Cocoa

While it is true that these farms are an important source of income for many families, it is vital to consider the larger context. Is it truly justifiable to support an industry that thrives on the exploitation of vulnerable children? .... Just kidding... thats what the argument used to be... Now we've made it clear that these two situations are mutually exclusive. What does that mean? It means one doesn't stop the other from happening. So to put it into context, "these farms", are 2 different places on the globe. Don't let someone conflate the globe to you. Many different types of cocoa farms exist and slave-free cocoa has actually been the norm for 4300 years until colonialism began. "Should we prioritize the financial stability of a few over the well-being of millions?" A skeptic mite ask. But they are being ignorant of the globe, using a corporate pro-slavery and anti-black myth that cocoa must be farmed by brown people in poverty... Its a cover up. Supporting an industry that thrives on exploitation of children doesn't need to end. people just need to stop buying it. They are just uninformed because of their privilege and entitlement, they haven't been interested in equality and won't be. Altruism is not egalitarian. Not everyone gets to do it. Helping others should not be limited to the privilege class because powerful people will never recede power. However, the argument to confuse slave-free curious folks is changing! Now they have to explain how, in West Africa, slavery should be allowed. No one is questioning family cocoa farming anywhere else in the world. Yet advocates have been stopped in their track with rhetoric designed to cover up cocoa-slavery for years. Rhetoric that is purposely repellant, based in colonialism and ignorance of the cocoa industry. "...Opponents of the boycott claim that it would result in the ruin of small family farms and have a significant financial impact on both producers and retailers". - Author

White European Slavery Creating Cocoa Plantation and Child-Slaves to farm it.
Historical Slavery Has Its Roots In White Supremacy

Another thing people conflate is modern slavery and historical slavery. Read all about that in this article here. There is a VERY important difference.

children working in cobalt or lithium mining.
Modern Slavery is a Corrupt Industry that FUELS these devices.

Small family farms play a significant role in the agricultural landscape, providing not only sustenance but also a sense of community and tradition. These farms often have a long history, passed down through generations, and are deeply rooted in the local culture. They could be in South America, Vietnam, East Africa, India or even Hawaii (although cocoa only has a traditional indigenous culture in South America). The loss of these farms would not only impact the livelihoods of individual families but also erode the fabric of rural communities. A part of our mission at Pono Cocoa is to help support these farms with donations provided by people like you reading this article. Let s make that clear. This article exists to discuss issues in West-Africa, and not conflate them with cocoa-growing in other parts of the world. As one of the authors at Pono Cocoa, please understand, everything covered below refers to cocoa-slavery in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. We specifically will not be commenting or referring to child-labor anywhere else on the globe in this article...

"Its a cover up." - Author

Modern Slavery  image of kids mining in the dirt.
Modern Slavery is a HUGE Problem fueling our Tesla's

...However, that is not enough! We at Pono Cocoa acknowledge that the issue at hand is not solely about ending child-slavery in West Africa. It's also vitally important we bolster the survival of small family farms in other parts of the world. We are making it our job to promote and advertise them and for them. We do it for free. If you are a slave-free cocoa farm or independent slave-free chocolate maker, you are eligible for our free promotions! Just fill the free questionnaire here.

The (West African Cocoa) boycott against cocoa production aims to address the systemic exploitation. It is a call for justice and a demand for change. By supporting the boycott, consumers are taking a stand against the unethical practices that perpetuate the suffering of vulnerable children. We don't need to boycott chocolate farmed in other countries. Join the campaign to promote them and check out the list of CERTIFIED Child-slave free chocolate-makers here.

The argument for small family farms being, "ruined", by the boycott raises valid concerns about the immediate impact on farmers and their families but, it won't happen. Many of these farmers are on separate continents and have dedicated their lives to their land, working tirelessly to provide for their loved ones. Laboring. Child-slaves aren't paid. It's not labor. So, there's no sudden loss of income for them that could lead to severe financial strain. Child-slaves in cocoa are denied, education, shelter, love, healthcare and the chance to pursue their purpose in life. No one is making it easy for them to meet basic needs. Taking away cocoa-slavery? No one has tried this to see what happens. Nestle claims, "its just how they've always done it", but was only brought to African by missionaries and Portuguese slavers to force them to work cocoa on the land. Extracting all the natural resources of Africa, even the children lives, and millions of entire child-hoods, is no future. It is the present. There was no way they had traditional cacao growing PERIOD. IT NEVER HAPPENED! It was brought for the purpose of getting cacao from slaves. They are still gettin' it!

"Child-slaves aren't paid." - Author The exploitation of children in cocoa production is a grave violation of their rights and a stain on our collective conscience. Why should anyone care? Because they are tortured and abused and trafficked and unpaid. They are cut with razors, whipped with belts, bought and sold like objects and transported from farm to farm with custodial allegiances. You should care because its the worst issue in our entire global supply chain. Because its the worst issues of child-labor and child-slavery in the world. Because, dear friend, dear readers, we have a common enemy. Relevantly, the white supremacists that have created this situation for black children. Without obfuscating, the biggest issue of facing our nation is domestic terror in the USA by white supremacists. You should care because, that makes child-slavery in cocoa actually, international terrorism. Its open terrorism/genocide, domestic terrorist by locals, all the actual end consumers are predominately British, American and German. By boycotting products associated with "child-labor", consumers are sending a clear message to corporations and governments that these practices will not be tolerated. It's been tolerated. We're past tolerating. We won't tolerate open terrorism, the attack on black children, thats not just for the sake of attacking, but also for a further aim... They have accomplished, if not won capitalism. They have destroyed all their competition too -- all the would be chocolate-makers that try to sell their chocolate bars for the same prices. So, now we are disrupting chocolate.. We are clear that we won't tolerate "child-slavery." Because again, we at Pono Cocoa love and support small, independent family-run farms (all of which have safe acceptable levels of child-labor) and independent chocolate businesses. Child-labor is detailed in specifics for small family-run farms. The specifics involve heavily regulated hours and types of work for children, by the International Labor Organization. They understand that child-labor in cocoa is tolerated and "child-slavery" in West Africa must be eradicated. It's the use of fear and violence to in order to achieve a goal, terrorism.

"...Child-labor in cocoa is tolerated and "child-slavery" in West Africa must be eradicated." - Author

Furthermore, the argument for small family farms being ruined, fails to acknowledge the potential for alternative solutions and support systems. It IGNORES solutions. So, saying, "Do NOT boycott", arguing for the safety of family run farms, is actually an argument to do nothing and change nothing. Thats not right. Its wrong thinking or faulty logic. You can see child-labor outside of West Africa would never be the reason to maintain child-slavery in West Africa. Nice try though. Colonizers...SMH, terrorists. Click to enlarge the images below.

In conclusion, the argument for small family farms getting ruined from a boycott raises valid concerns for folks who haven't read this article. Or. Have. Common. Sense. West African child-slavery is in West Africa. We need to address the exploitation of vulnerable black children in West Africa and not get delayed, thrown off or confused by poor, centuries-old colonist arguments. By supporting a boycott, consumers are taking a stand for justice and demanding change in an industry that profits from using fear and violence to profit. We don't have enough slave-free chocolate in the world to fulfill or take over for the demands "Big Chocolate" meets. However, we believe chocolate just isn't meant to be a commodity junk food. Consumers who think chocolate is junk food are just uneducated. They don't know about slavery in cocoa and that makes them just like every "Belgian" Chocolate-Maker (Britain and France have lots of commodity cacao farmed by 5-year olds) These makers knowingly make and use child-slavery to profit. They are committing wage theft.. Commodity cacao should not exist just so foreign executives can rob children. Shitty chocolate gives a bad name for all chocolate and for all chocolate-makers in the whole world. Alternative solutions and support systems can be explored to ensure the long-term supply of small family farms while upholding ethical standards and protecting the rights of children. We just need to plant cocoa in some areas where poverty is not deliberately being created. Where again is that in the world? Where isn't wage-theft by CEO, being committed? Ya gotta find independent businesses that use slave-free cocoa from slave free farms that are all, on our list, here.

Money Produced from Child-slave Cocoa every year, its 70% of all Chocolate, is $89.53 Billion Including Unpaid Wages to 2 Million Minors

The financial impact of boycotting slave-free cocoa cannot be ignored. The other 30% of the industry is worth $38.37 Billion. The cocoa industry generates a staggering amount of revenue each year, with child-slave cocoa accounting for a significant, "70%" of that total of about $130 Billion. It is estimated that 70% (or more) of all chocolate produced comes from cocoa harvested by children in slavery. ILO and other organizations call "harvested in areas where child-slavery is the 'norm'". Its, the same. And, that $89 Billion is only possible because they are NOT paying their farmers. So essentially, the wages that should go to the farmer, the mega giant corporations just keep it. Their net income will be significantly more since there is no expense or cost to farm the cocoa. So if they paid the farmers, 1., adults would begin to take the jobs and 2., their net income could be less. Thats it. Thats the cost to them of slave-free cocoa, less income. Meanwhile entire childhoods are being robbed and thieved in every financial way possible. $89 Billion dollars includes the theft of their slave-labor.

corporate men overstanding child slaves.
Capitalists Ruining Generations to Extract WAGES & Resources

However, focusing solely on the financial cost without considering the ethical implications is a narrow viewpoint. We must ask ourselves if we are willing to prioritize profits over the lives and well-being of these children. Wait, they will be better off if their families are taken out of poverty? Can we, in good conscience, continue to contribute to an industry that perpetuates such cruelty and injustice? It's been 8 generations of terror and poverty. Is it really worth the cost of keeping 2.1 million black trafficked children in slavery? Our most precious resource? How many billion is their illegal-labor worth again? That much? These children are owed millions in reparations from the "Big (racist) Chocolate", companies. That cost, continues to increase as the issue goes on for decades. Maybe finances are the most important part. How can you consider ethical implications w/o considering the morality of engineering decades of unpaid children who are also kept from school? How are they supposed to get a job?! How are they supposed to add-value to their communities? The cost, considering ethical implications, is way too high. A boycott is needed.

Would Stores go out of Business without Selling Child-slave Chocolate

Maybe they should!? Is one argument. Often put forth by opponents of the boycott is the summarization of many stores and retailers going out of business if they were unable to sell chocolate produced using child slavery. The fear is that consumers would simply seek out alternative retailers who still offer these products -- anti-racist and anti-slavery chocolate retailers deserve the business. Could everyone just sell slave-free chocolate? Is that a fear, concluding in higher sales of slave-free chocolate? Yes, there is a clear scary connection -- this author notes (w/ his own spending and eating habits), consuming and purchasing chocolate produced thru exploitation, hurts children. And, its almost unavoidable. So lets just ask stores to carry only child-slave free chocolate. This shouldn't even be an issue in 2024 remember. Its supposed to have been solved by now. Were you fooled by failed Senators Harkin and Engel like the rest of us?

Our Child-Slave Free Pono Cocoa Sticker on Auro Chocolate
Official Pono Cocoa Sticker on Auro Chocolate Certified Child-slave free.

While it is understandable that store owners and employees may be concerned about their livelihoods, it is crucial to remember that there are always alternatives. The market is constantly evolving, and there is growing demand for pono, cocoa products. By shifting their focus towards slave-free cocoa options, retailers can not only help protect children from slavery but also tap into a growing consumer base that values freedom and equality, unlike the businesses which are currently purveying it. Its acceptable for businesses to go out of business if they RELY on child-slavery for profits. Thats ok because they are relying on racism to stay in business. No one should rely on it to stay in business. Thats so many businesses though. Lets talk about them and their complicity another time.

Now lets talk about profiting. Eh? Whats that? You already know, if they rely on historical slavery to stay in business then they shouldn't be allowed to be in business? That's why we made the boycott list.

Craft Chocolate Makers will Actually be Able to Compete in a Fair Market for Once

A benefit of boycotting slave-free cocoa is the opportunity it presents for CERTIFIED slave-free craft chocolate makers. These smaller, independent producers often struggle to compete in a market dominated by big chocolate corporations that rely on cheap labor and unethical practices. Sure they just charge more to survive and some even thrive. But none of them rely or profit from exploitation in cocoa. So anyone can do it. It would be when they could try to sell their chocolate as cheap as "Big Chocolate" companies that they would run into problems. Owning a chocolate making company costs different, depending on how much they pay for cocoa beans or chocolate. So why doesn't everyone choose child-slave free cocoa? Its cheaper to fake it... No one admits to it. Someone must be making all that exploitation-farmed cocoa. In fact, thats what "Belgian" chocolate is and their reputation is all about! Most places having a great chocolate reputation outside of the equator, like, "A La Mere De Familia," in France, have never even sought to be slave-free. Check out Leonidas from Greece, or Ion. Pretty much every single European and American chocolate-maker uses child-slavery. Yes, especially Chocolove! Try and buy brands that at least make an effort to be slave-free, but NOT Tony's. You can read about their Choco-baloney here.

children slaving on cocoa fields
Rhoad Dahls' Oomp Loompahs Work for Chocolate and are Based on This.

"A benefit of boycotting slave-free cocoa is the opportunity it presents for CERTIFIED slave-free craft chocolate makers." - Author

By supporting craft chocolate makers who Do NOT work with Fair trade, Rainforest Alliance and other, "middle-man", businesses, helps level the playing field. They are not slave-free. None of those fair trade-y companies are slave-free. And none of them have ever have been. Everyone thinks they are...more about that here. This would lead to a more diverse and competitive market, where slave-free choices are not overshadowed and may compete to become the norm.

"None of those fair trade-y companies are slave-free." - Author

a cocoa slave then an American kid eating slave chocolate.
Children are Children. Innocent.

A World of w/o Slave-free Chocolate; Creating Empty Holidays and Flacid Celebrations Because it is Actually Sacred

Supporters of the boycott argue that choosing slave-free cocoa is not only about making an ethical (not that ethical means child-slave free in the chocolate industry.), but its about choice. Choice but also about preserving the true meaning behind holidays and celebrations. A world without slave chocolate would be one where these occasions do not lose their authenticity and do not become void of the joy they are intended to celebrate.

When we consume chocolate, we want to be able to enjoy it without the knowledge that children suffered and were enslaved to produce it. This makes our holidays more sacred. By choosing to opt for slave-free cocoa , we can ensure that our celebrations are not tainted by the knowledge of it, but rather are not tainted by actual chocolate with a human cost behind it. Those who have embraced sacred, slave-free ceremonial cacao and chocolate already know, it makes things even more special. You want to add actually holiness, connections and community to your gatherings? DITCH THE SLAVE-CHOCOLATE! You want wholesome holiday celebrations with your kids or grandkids? DITCH THE SLAVE-CHOCOLATE! You want to bring your family together and reunite generations of relatives? DITCH THE SLAVE-CHOCOLATE! Want to continue the sanctity of your engagements or commencement? Stop being anti-black. Ditch the slave-chocolate, because black lives matter in cocoa. Your holidays not what they used to be? and this author recalls his, because you are celebrating with products produced thru the exploitation of trafficking, torture and abuse of millions of black children. I did it too. But I stopped. Now I've opened my own slave-free cacao and craft chocolate business, using slave-free Hawaiian cacao. Everything is done by hand w/o automation, honoring the craft not the capitalism. We only produce our Hawaiian craft chocolate on a small - scale of about 2,000 pono cocoa bars a year. Its called Island Sharks Chocolate.

We Want to Boycott Because as Westerners, We Don't Understand.

One common argument against the boycott is that we, as Westerners, cannot fully understand the complexities and nuances of the issue. I would argue no one can fully understand the complexities and nuances of being trafficked into child-slavery. It is true that the cocoa industry is deeply intertwined with the economies and cultures of producing regions, and that addressing the problem requires politicians to 1. stop denying foreign aid to help and to 2. stop personally profiting off wage theft of minors. However, is it not the same of the children who know nothing of the issues. Freedom and privileges of some of America's richest families know freedom and privilege in a financial sense. They have more privileges than the African children. Most American's worth their weight in fiat currency knows equality should exist for all children -- and, that it doesn't. Just because people take a blind-eye to profiting, shouldn't make everyone involved unequal, or enslaved. Equality should not be a privilege. The boycott ends the privilege that prevents equality. Its called oppression really. So, it doesn't get more nuanced then that! If you don't want to boycott, you don't have to. This boycott hurts no one!

In addition, just because a problem is complex or seemingly out of our control, it does not mean we should remain passive. It is our responsibility, as (often mis-informed) global citizens, to stand up against injustice, oppression and exploitation, regardless of our cultural or geographical backgrounds. We are responsible for improving the conditions for those who are marginalized and more under-privileged than we are. Boycotting commodity cocoa is a tangible and impactful way to take a stand and show our support for a world free from child-slavery. 'Buycott' the brands on our slave-free chocolate list or help Pono Cocoa on its mission to actual improve the conditions and qualities of a child's lives. If you can't support our boycott then support our direct relief fund for farmers in these areas. If you MUST buy chocolate produced through exploitation then at the very least, subscribe to donating to Pono Cocoa to support our outreach, office fees and service campaigns.

"Ditch the slave-chocolate!" - Author

Kids of All Ages do Work on Family Cocoa Farms in India and Brazil and Need Money Although Child-Slavery is There.

While it is true that children of all ages may work on family cocoa farms in India and Brazil, it is essential to distinguish between child-labor and child-slavery. Child labor, when regulated and supervised, can provide valuable skills and contribute to a child's development. Children can give back to the family. And they can stay in school simultaneously. In this and more conservative sense, child-labor can be a net gain. For some anti-black, pro-slavery nut jobs, its like a God send. Check out these posts that seem to be written by bots, or worse, fake people, a.k.a. real conservatives. These posts (here is the same article written by someone else on another site) are pure right-wing (white Christian nationalist) propaganda. How is the same article written by two people? On the Catalyst site it says, "By guest author Kerry McDonald", and on the Fee Stories site it says, Benjamin Seevers. Neither of those people are real people and Benjamin is not a Ph. D at West Virgina University.

Both articles next to each other showing plagiarism or prpaganda.
Written by a Pro-Savery, Anti-black Conservative Propaganda Plant

Slavery is terror. Its not a coincidence we have child-slave labor in cocoa and, white supremest domestic terror as our (the US's) biggest internal threat. They are even posting spam and mis-information online to persuade people child-labor is fine and the slavery in chocolate is really not that bad. And its propaganda and fake news.

By supporting slave-free cocoa, we can help create a world where children are protected, educated, given the opportunity to thrive free of European, American and colonial terrorism.

They Mix the "Slave-Cocoa", w/ the "Slave-free" Cocoa so They can Get Away w/ Selling it & Distributing it Through USCBP

One common tactic used by the cocoa industry to evade detection and scrutiny is the practice of mixing slave cocoa with non-slave cocoa. By blending these different sources together, they can bypass regulations and certifications that aim to ensure "ethical"


This deceptive practice underscores the importance of a united and unwavering stance against all cocoa produced using child slavery. It also shows how far "Big Chocolate" is willing to go to cover up and hide the problem forever from public view and scrutiny! By boycotting slave-free cocoa entirely, we can send a powerful message to the industry that such exploitation will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, yes some cocoa mixed in is not from child-slavery but it is impossible to separate it as they mix it deliberately for confusion. This is how they sell you and everyone you know, garbage.

"We can fund the end of child-slavery." - Author

How Can Financial Costs, Over Saving Young Black Children, even Be A Consideration

At the heart of the issue is a fundamental question of values and priorities. Can we, in good conscience, prioritize financial costs over the lives and freedom of young black children who are subjected to kidnapping and slavery? If so, well then congrats...You've won for 120 years. But, no longer. People need to be put over profit, when those people are trafficked abuse black youths.

By choosing to boycott slave-cocoa, we are making a clear statement that money should never come at the expense, of human rights. It is our moral imperative to prioritize the well-being and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their race or socioeconomic background. Pono Cocoa does this by ending child-slavery in cocoa.

Freedom is Dignity, so it's Time to Disrupt the Industry and Boycott Big Chocolate

Black lives matter in cocoa. But, in the face of such grave injustice, it is imperative that we take a stand for actual freedom and human rights. By boycotting Big Chocolate and supporting slave-free cocoa, we can disrupt the industry and push for meaningful change. We can fund the end of child-slavery.

While there may be costs associated with this shift, they pale in comparison to the lives and freedom of the 2.1 million children impacted by cocoa-related slavery. It is time for consumers, retailers, and producers to join forces and create a future where every bite of chocolate represents a freedom, justice and liberation.

8 views0 comments


bottom of page