Friday, February 22, 2013
the problem of child labor and forced labor in Columbia
The number of consumed coffee and chocolate products has been drastically increasing since franchise coffee companies such as Starbucks and Caribou Coffee started to expend their business markets. While the large enterprises are making profits by producing their products with low price of raw materials, labors supplying the materials are unfairly paid for their wages. Jeff Nall, the writer of the article ‘Combating Slavery in Coffee and Chocolate Production,’ said that the life of “Cocoa laborers” is the life of “modern-day slaves.” According to Tulane University, there were more than 1.8 million children in West Africa involving in cultivating cocoa in March 2011. The children labor joylessly hard at work collecting and cutting open the cocoa pods that contain cocoa seeds. In addition, they are engaged in heavy manual labor, using machetes, and carrying large loads. The unfair wage is not the only problem; the problem in unfair treatment is also the problem. Children workers failing to work fast enough are beaten with branches and bicycle chains. Children attempting to escape from their employers have been bound with rope and beaten so severely scars remain. It is true that such a labor system economically benefits the coffee or coffee producers and their consumers. However, the human right of “coffee labors” has been ignored. Because both groups of consumers and producers look for high quality with low prices, the producers have to find and employ labors with paying low wage and poor working conditions. As time goes by, more and more number of consumers purchase the “unfairly produced goods” with high prices that producers want to take. And the large enterprises pretend as they provide high privilege and high quality of products to their consumers.
If we, consumers, want to be wise in our purchase, we need to consider the labors’ human rights.