04/06/2012 01:28 pm ET Updated Apr 06, 2012

Easter Chocolate: 5 Ways To Ensure Your Holiday Treats Are Slavery-Free

Easter's chocolate bunnies will bring smiles to celebrating kids, but the tasteless truth is that African children are suffering unimaginable harm to produce many of these treats.

According to Stop the Traffick, 1.8 million children are subjected to backbreaking labor on West African cocoa farms, from which 70 percent of the world's chocolate derives. Impoverished kids are taken from their parents, with promises of honest work and money for their family, and are then forced to endure harsh labor and physical abuse, according to Knight Ridder Newspapers

"The beatings were a part of my life," Aly Diabate, a freed slave, told the news outlet. "Anytime they loaded you with bags and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead, they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again."

Chocolate lovers will buy more of their favorite candy over Easter than at any point during the rest of the year, according to Kraft. But they will also have the opportunity to take the biggest stand, to show chocolate companies that they're just as enthralled with filling up with baskets with sweets that had no slaves involved in the production process.

Click through our slideshow below to learn how you can make a difference this Easter by buying conflict-free chocolate and pushing to put an end to child slavery in the cocoa industry.