Everyone loves chocolate. But for thousands of people, chocolate is the reason for their enslavement.
The chocolate bar you snack on likely starts at a plant in a West African cocoa plantation, and often the people who harvest it are children. Many are slaves to a system that produces something almost all of us consume and enjoy.
Slave traders are trafficking boys ranging from the age of 12 to 16 from their home countries and are selling them to cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire. They work on small farms across the country, harvesting the cocoa beans day and night, under inhumane conditions. Most of the boys come from neighboring Mali, where agents hang around bus stations looking for children that are alone or are begging for food.
The cocoa industry creates billions of dollars a year. The Ivory Coast produces nearly half of all the world's cocoa, West Africa collectively, supplies nearly 70% of the world's cocoa.
Most of the people trafficked are female, and children.
There are about 600,000 cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, with an estimated 15,000 children forced to work as slaves on these farms.