Chocolate is a product of the cocoa bean, which grows primarily in the tropical climates of West Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The cocoa bean is more commonly referred to as golden pod in Ghana and Ivory Coast because it contributes to the gross domestic product of these countries. Ghana and the Ivory Coast supply more than 70% of the world’s cocoa.
The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to most chocolate companies, including the largest in the world.
The chocolate industry is worth an estimated $110 billion a year, and yet its key commodity is grown by some of the poorest people on the planet, in plantations that can hide the worst forms of child labor.
In recent years, a handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery, on cocoa farms in West Africa. Since then, the industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to access farms where human rights violations still occur on a large scale.