Cocoa Crisis in Ivory Coast

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The Chocolate industry is a very competitive and lucrative business. Chocolate is loved all over the world and 67% of the worlds cocoa beans are harvested in the same area of the world, West Africa. Although the beans are harvested in West Africa they are sold and used more in other countries. One major buyer of the cocoa beans is North America. We used chocolate in almost everything, and there are a lot of favourite chocolate bars Mars bars, Kit Kat, and Twix to name a few. In 1999 a few of North Americas largest chocolate bar suppliers got hit with a huge public ethical dilemma. Reporters found out that the cocoa beans were being harvested by slaves, young boys taken from their homes and kept in locked up shacks and less than humane treatment while being made to work all day long in unbearable heat. What is ethically wrong with that? According to North American culture it is ethically and morally wrong. But is it ethically wrong of the Ivory Coast and Ghana to use slaves in order to harvest the cocoa beans? West Africa is part of a third world country; it is not wealthy like North America or Europe. The Ivory Coast has corrupt government, and authorities as well as an open border. It is a poor country and people have to do what they need to do to get by, including buying slaves to work on their farms. With the prices of cocoa beans dropping all the time it’s the only way to get any income by having very cheap labour workers. Between 1996 and 2000 prices for a pound of cocoa beans dropped over 10 cents almost 25%. So using slaves in this part of the country isn’t ethical, or unethical it’s just their way of life. The child slavery in this case is relatively wrong, when put beside the majority of North Americans views of what is moral and ethical it is very wrong, wrong because North America has prohibited slavery. Changes need to be made within West Africa dealing first with government and authorities, then dealing with the black market and slavery. If the...
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