It's Valentine's Day and you are looking across the table at your beloved who is opening the tasty box of chocolates you've bought as a token of your love. What should you be thinking? About the wild sex you are about to have? Of your undying devotion? Of your happy future? I'm going to ruin all that by saying you should think "brought to you by 6.3 million child laborers in Ivory Coast and Ghana."
Sorry to chill down your molten feelings, but more than half of the world's chocolate comes from these areas in Africa in which children under 14 do brutally heavy work, apply pesticides, are hurt by machetes, unfair labor practices, and many of them are actually slaves stolen from their families.
While it may be mean of me to ruin your Valentine's Day, it's much meaner to ignore the globalized route of the truffle. This holiday, the American Federation of Teachers is asking you to write to let the US government know that you are concerned. http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/ValentineToVilsack
And you can eat chocolate with a clear conscience, but to do that you have to buy Fair Trade chocolate or chocolate you know for sure has come from South America or areas other than Africa. And remember that the chocolate in your ice cream, cookies, and lovely hot chocolate all have a 50 percent chance of coming from the sweat and tears of these laboring children unless the ingredients state otherwise. Here's a list of slave-free chocolate: http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/goodchocolateproducts.html