It’s a time of year when we all love our chocolate, but do we know where it’s really coming from? Here’s a hint: it’s not the Easter Bunny.
Whether it’s milk or white you like, there’s often a dark side to the chocolate we consume, which is why Oaktree volunteers are asking you to be a good egg this Easter and say no to human trafficking in the cocoa industry.
This Saturday from 11am, community leaders from one of Australia’s largest youth-run organisations will gather outside Mollison St Coles in West End, asking the major supermarket to double the number fair-trade Easter eggs on its shelves in future years.
The young leaders say they are discouraged by the lack of ethical Easter products available to Australian consumers at a time when our chocolate consumption is at its very highest.
In conjunction with prominent anti-trafficking group ‘Stop The Traffik’, Oaktree is asking Australian shoppers to put pressure on large supermarkets by signing a petition and boycotting non-certified products.
Oaktree State Director, Jayme Ellis says the Traffik Free Easter campaign specifically targets regions where child trafficking is most prominent, specifically West Africa where over one-third of the world’s cocoa is produced.
“Children as young as ten are trafficked to work in cocoa factories under harsh conditions and these children haven’t even tasted chocolate in their life,” she says.
But it’s not all bad news and Ms Ellis wants to assure Australians that they have the power to change where their food is coming from. The Good Egg Guide is a helpful tool for Australian consumers who want to be more conscious about the products they are buying.
Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance all work to ensure that products are free from the worst forms of human trafficking and child labour, making them a better choice for smart consumers.
While supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths only stock a limited range of fair trade Easter products, the campaign has had other wins with Aldi and Haigh’s stocking all UTZ Certified chocolate.
“This campaign has two sides to it. The first is getting Coles and Woolworths to stock more fairtrade products, but a really lovely side of it as well is thanking those companies that decided that they would only stock certified chocolate,” says Ms Ellis.
The young volunteers are confident that Australians have the power to see significant changes in the industry, and look forward to having meaningful conversations with West End locals.
To support the campaign pay them a visit at Coles on Saturday, April 28 or sign the petition online.
Words by Marian Faa