This is great:
Traditionally, it’s the kids who receive sweets from the elders on Halloween, but that years-old ritual is getting a makeover this year in hundreds of communities across North America.
Anti-poverty activists say thousands of children will go door-to-door tonight handing out chocolates to adults in some 300 cities across the United States and Canada.
Their decision to turn the ritual on its head is part of an international campaign to highlight the plight of tens of thousands of children who are forced to work on cocoa plantations instead of going to school in developing countries.
Campaigners said on Halloween costumed children would fill streets to hand out samples of “Fair Trade Certified” chocolates as a reminder to local communities that there exists an alternative to traditional chocolates, which usually rely on child labor or other abusive processes abroad to grow and harvest the cocoa for their candies.
Calling their campaign “Reverse Trick-or-Treating,” activists said it would address the persistent problems of chronic poverty in cocoa-growing communities, abysmal working conditions, and the massive abuse of child labor in the West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire in particular, where 40 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced.
The campaign is sponsored by human rights advocacy groups including Global Exchange, the International Labor Rights Fund, Co-op America, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, along with Fair Trade chocolate companies Equal Exchange, Sweet Earth, and Theo Chocolate to raise awareness among children and grown-ups about Fair Trade Certified chocolate as a solution to labor abuses in the cocoa industry.
According to Global Exchange, every year, U.S. consumers eat 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate, representing nearly half the world’s supply.
Citing a study by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture for USAID, the group says there are currently 284,000 children who work in abusive conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa, the world’s largest cocoa producing region.