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Film / The Dark Side of Chocolate

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Not everything's better with chocolate...

"When you eat chocolate, you eat my flesh."note 
Amadou, a former child slave.

The Dark Side of Chocolate is a 2010 documentary film exposing the widespread, but strangely unknown-to-the-public, use of child slaves in the cocoa industry. It follows the lives of children in the cocoa fields, their working conditions, and the abuse of power of morality and ethics therein.

Fair warning, the documentary is quite effective at showing just how ethical boundaries have been ignored by these companies, and can be a little distressing to watch, so watch at your discretion.

The documentary is narrated by David Bateson, of all people.

Tropes associated with ''The Dark Side of Chocolate:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Though, the producers didn't quite get through to the chocolate companies, they did get through INTERPOL's, ILO, the president, one CEO in South Cacao, along with bringing awareness of the subject on top of over 100 getting rescued in the aftermath, but, at the end of the day, there's still more work and effort to be done.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Considering all the chocolate companies' unwillingness to view their footage, it's quite clear this is at play somewhere in the food chain.
  • Corporate Conspiracy:
    • There was a move in June 28, 2001 by U.S. House of Representatives to label chocolate "slave-free" that was shot down by the chocolate industry, as they lobbied against Congress.
    • Considering the scale of the problem and the fact that is been going on over ten years yet so few people seems to know about this, it's hard to believe this is not going on.
  • Human Traffickers: Since the children are trafficked, it can be guessed that they were kidnapped from elsewhere or, in some instances, the impoverished families handed them over without knowing what the risks were.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: This is a variant, where, instead of meeting the meat, we meet the workers and what we see isn't pretty.
  • Made a Slave: The children are effectively this, as, despite all the work they do, they hardly get paid, if at all. Adding to this, they are trafficked to the farms from who knows where.
    Narrator: Most children are never even paid.
  • Never My Fault: This is basically what the chocolate companies self-defense amounts to, in which case, they claim they have no control (or oversight) over the cocoa farms they buy from.
    Statement: "The vast majority of cocoa farms are not owned by the companies that make chocolate or supply cocoa and we therefore don't have direct control over cocoa farming or labor practices."
  • No OSHA Compliance: The farms inhumane conditions for its workers, which are working with heavy/dangerous tools, carrying heavy sacks, and using pesticides without protective gear/clothing, on top of employing children. To list a case in point, one of the children had sores in her legs from either being exposed to harmful chemicals, falling from carrying something too heavy, or injuring herself with tools.
  • Slave Liberation:
    • This is basically what the documentary hopes to accomplish.
    • They rescued a little girl with wounds on her legs, among others.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: More than 1.8 million children in West Africa are involved in growing cocoa. The children work hard, hazardous work with no pay and no medical attention. The exceptions are Fair Trade Certified chocolate, some companies, and organic chocolate,note  though the latter is probably only because at the time of writing no organic cocoa products are made from Ivory Coast.
  • Vague Age: Some of the kids employed at the farms, as we get don't get actual numbers, we get estimates or a range. A specific case is one of the girls (probably the one with the sores on her legs), where she says she's twelve, but they think she might be younger, either way, no one really knows.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Those who support this practice include such companies as Hershey's, Nestle, and M&M Mars. These three in particular are giants in the industry.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The chocolate companies or, rather, the ones they hire/buy from do this when they employ children to pick the cocoa plants, said cocoa plants having several occupational hazards that could do just as much harm to an adult, on top of getting beat on by the taskmasters.