Bad news. I recently learned that human trafficking is alive and well, and is currently the most lucrative of organized crime activities. I get pretty overwhelmed about the size of the world's problems sometimes, but when I learned that nearly half of the world's chocolate comes from Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa, where an estimated minimum of 12,000 children are trafficked into slavery, AND that by refusing sugar in their tea in the 1800s, Britishers were able to raise the awareness that shifted the tide toward banning slavery, I thought, "there's something I can do something about" [more details here].
As much as I may joke about not being able to live without chocolate, when it really comes down to it, it's a luxury. I can live without chocolate if I think about children being forced into slavery for me to have it. So a few weeks ago, I decided to give up any chocolate that couldn't be validated to be slavery-free. From what I hear, fair trade and organic chocolate are ok. Yes, they're more expensive, but that just means eating less, right? The things I'm most bummed to lose so far are Reese's Peanut Butter cups (and - related to it, my favorite DQ thing: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards made with twist ice cream!), DQ cakes, and pretty much hot fudge in general. Most other things I think I can make for myself with fair trade cocoa, chocolate chips, and so on.
I'm not really much of a radical, but I did try something that's stepping out pretty far, for me. If you're familiar with Facebook, you'll know that there are a gajillion-and-one groups out there that you can join to show your support for... well, whatever cause you want. I seldom join them, because I don't usually don't see a connection between me joining the group and it actually having an effect of helping the cause. So I decided to try a twist on the theme: I created a Facebook group where I ask folks - by joining - to agree not to eat chocolate that isn't slavery-free [click here to view it]. It's kind of cool - there are 33 members at the moment, which is a pretty big deal, if you ask me. I'm pondering other actions, so if you have further ideas, let me know or drag me along!