Slavery in the Chocolate Industry

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Question 1: What are the systemic, corporate and individual ethical issues raised by this case? Systemic Issues are the issues that concern the economic, political and other social systems within which the business operate. Systemic ethical issues that are raised by this case are as follows: 1.Children are kidnapped by the farmers of Ghana and Ivory Coast and sold off as slaves to coca harvesting farms where they are forced to do manual labor in the form of clearing the field, harvesting the beans and drying them in the sun, while the living conditions provided to them are quite poor. A British television company, True Vision, made a documentary about the lives of these slaves and publicized these events in the year 2000 however there was no impact of this documentary. The reason for this was later revealed to be the fact that the African government, African farmers, American chocolate Companies, Distributers, Consumers and most importantly Chocolate manufacturer association knew already knew about this issue but did nothing to rectify the situation.

2.Economically speaking, the price of cocoa beans declined by about 25% between the years 1996 and 2000. This decline was at a global level and affected the poor small farm owners in the Ivory Coast. To make ends meet and to make the business somewhat profitable the farmers turned to slavery to cut the labor cost. The legal aspect of this situation is that despite the fact that slavery is illegal in Ivory Coast and surrounding areas, the law is rarely enforced due to open borders, a shortage of enforcement officers, and the willingness of local officials to accept bribes from members of the slave trade. Corporate Issues concern the practices of a particular company. Corporate ethical issues that are raised by this case are: 3. The middlemen who grind and process cocoa beans acquired from the Ivory Coast and sell the product to manufacturers are aware of the slave labor problem but due to the fact that they...
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