Positive moves in the right direction … time will tell! But still no one looking at the situation with the children that are living on the streets having escaped their situation or those being trafficked across the border! We mustn’t forget, C.R.E.E.R started due to ‘M’ who was in domestic servitude. The figures to find out the ratio of trafficking victims that go into cocoa, domestic servitude or prostitution would be interesting but probably very difficult to obtain and verify!

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Excellent piece on the situation!  Please think about the origin of your chocolate this Easter!

Listen Girlfriends!

With Valentine’s Day behind us and Easter just a few weeks away, I thought there was no better time to write a post on the chocolate industry than now, when ‘chocolate season’ seems to be in full bloom. Even though it may seem that I am taking somewhat of a detour from my current series on fashion by writing about all things cocoa, the fact is, the chocolate and textile industries share much in common. Both produce things that give people around the world pleasure, and yet that pleasure often comes at a cost. My previous posts on fashion, conflict minerals and technology have attempted to reveal the obstacles in maintaining transparency across our global supply chains, and chocolate is no exception here. If glamor is a facade that often hides the exploitation behind the fashion industry, then the sweetness of chocolate found within the brightly foiled wrappers can…

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Monday, March 18 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

Howard University

Welcome by Alfonzye Chisholm Jr., Director, Office of Sustainability, Howard University

NOTHING LIKE CHOCOLATE (USA/Grenada/Ivory Coast, 2012, 67 min.)Washington, D.C. Premiere   From currency to candy, chocolate reflects a rich history of sacred ritual, endorphin highs, hip anti-oxidants, exotic sensuality, high quality luxury and enslaved children. The film tells the compelling story of Mott Green, founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company Cooperative, as he pursues his unique vision to create the best chocolate in the world, ethically and taste-wise. Also featuring Nelice Stewart, an independent cocoa farmer in Grenada, the documentary shows how the Caribbean island of Grenada has become home to this revolutionary venture. In a world of mass-produced chocolate – often made with cocoa harvested by trafficked child labor – and bean prices that have fueled civil war in Africa, this artisanal small chocolate factory is fast becoming a serious competitor to industrial chocolate. The Grenada Chocolate Factory, a worker-owned cooperative, draws on solar power, employee shareholding and small-scale antique equipment to make delicious, organic, and socially conscious chocolate. Narrated by Susan Sarandon. Directedand produced by Kum-Kum Bhavnani.

FREE. No reservations required.  

Howard University, Digital Auditorium, Blackburn Student Center, 2397 Sixth St., NW (Metro: Shaw/Howard University) Campus shuttle from Shaw/Howard University Metro. All open parking lots on campus will be free after 5:00 p.m.

Link: ‘Nothing Like Chocolate’ Washington D.C. Premiere

An event not to be missed on MONDAY!  Wishing that our board in both Cote d’Ivoire & France were closer to Washington D.C.

This event has no relation to C.R.E.E.R or it’s boards but we are wanting to help spread the word!

The difference between Orphans and Trafficked Children

Following a conversation earlier with an organisation who has signed up to the Fair Labor Association; we realised the need to examine the ‘difference’ between an orphan and a trafficked child.

An orphan – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan

A trafficked child – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafficking_of_children

“This can stem from a dangerous “movement” stage of trafficking or from specific aspects of the “exploitation” stage, such as hazardous working conditions. Moreover, trafficked children are often denied access to healthcare, effectively increasing their chances of serious injury and death.[2] Trafficked children are also often subject to domestic violence; they may be beaten or starved in order to ensure obedience.[2] In addition, these children frequently encounter substance abuse; they may be given drugs as “payment” or to ensure that they become addicted and thus dependent on their trafficker(s).[2] As opposed to many other forms of crime, the trauma experienced by children who are trafficked is often prolonged and repeated, leading to severe psychological impacts.[70] UN.GIFT reports that trafficked children often suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions.[70]

Effects on families are also severe. Some families believe that sending or allowing their children to relocate in order to find work will bring in additional income, while in reality many families will never see their trafficked children again.[2] In addition, UN.GIFT has found that certain forms of trafficking, particularly sexual exploitation in girls, bring “shame” to families.[70] Thus, in certain cases, children who are able to escape trafficking may return to their families only to find that they are rejected and ostracized.”

Orphans can be trafficked, trafficked children are put to work.

Trafficked children often have higher emotional & educational needs.

The two groups need different attention & support.

C.R.E.E.R is working for trafficked children, orphans or not!  The need for such a centre has already been identified on the ground in Cote d’Ivoire & Ghana due to the lack of these two critical elements of emotional & educational support for ‘our’ group of children.

Your assistance to rehabilitate these children is appreciated in whatever form it may be available!

Easter chocolate; your choice!

The supermarket shelves are stacked high with easter eggs already, four weeks before Easter Sunday!

Have you ever thought where many of these chocolate eggs originate from?

Comic Relief in the UK has ‘Red Nose Day’ approaching, prior to Easter; but we’ve yet to see a mention of child trafficking or assistance towards it.

We’re trying to build the centre to give long-term rehabilitation to the many children trafficked in West Africa, not just in cocoa plantations but also working as domestic servants and in prostitution.  Giving them the empowerment they deserve to lead normal adult lives, stopping the vicious circle of trafficking.

Could you help us reach our goal?

Could you help fundraise before Easter?

Could you circulate this post with your friends?

Thank you!

See more here: http://wp.me/p3aqBS-2K

Advocacy or Action?

It’s been mentioned before, there isn’t a centre in the sub-region of West Africa that solely caters for trafficked children.  Please search google; we cannot find much about what is happening to the trafficked children, but lots of advocacy about them.  Very little action.

Due to ‘M’ the little girl who was found on the beach; C.R.E.E.R was created as we recognised her needs and those of many children that have been trafficked into slavery.  They go to orphanages, who don’t have the specialist needs to cater for the emotional needs of the children.

Those are the lucky ones, others are living in the streets having escaped but lost as to where to call ‘home’ having travelled many miles with their trafficker.  Without money to return home, scared of adults who may return them to their lives of slavery; they live in the streets living on the scraps they can find.

We’ve always stuck by our claim that we’re the first residential centre offering rehabilitation, education and vocational skills  in West Africa to be created solely for trafficked children; until this week!

Cote d'Ivoire 4 Cocoa growers using trafficked children

A few days ago we came across another centre.  Not entirely the same but not entirely different.  During a phone call to their offices, there were a lot of similarities.  They cater for children from Lake Volta in Ghana who are trafficked to work in the fishing industry.  Most of the fish isn’t exported so there’s not so much advocacy about it as there is with cocoa production, domestic servitude or prostitution; where the majority of C.R.E.E.R’s future generation are expected to come from.

An incredible conversation, hearing very similar thoughts to what we’ve been dealing with:

1.  No one else has a centre in the region, they believe they are the first, although they are mainly working with children from the lake.  We are now the second in the West African sub-region.

2.  It took them over 18 months to obtain their land; they also experienced endless meetings, false promises and wild goose chases.

3.  Local traditions, culture, bureaucracy; they have experienced a lot in Ghana that we’ve experienced in Cote d’Ivoire (& are still experiencing!)

However, we no longer feel as if we’re scraping in the dark with a speck of light at the end of a long tunnel.  Their organisation is going from strength to strength; there are facets that we would like to introduce at C.R.E.E.R particularly their art therapy.

So, advocacy is all very well, but action is needed too.  We need more help to make our centre a reality & gain action from committed individuals to help fundraise!