THIS week Oaktree began their ‘Make Easter Fairer’ campaign aimed at highlighting the need for a greater number of fair trade chocolate alternatives to be sold in local supermarkets.
The campaign aims to increase the number of Australian retailers offering fair trade certified Easter chocolate and encourage greater purchasing of available certified products this Easter.
The campaign is run in conjunction with Stop the Traffik, a global movement aimed at ending the illegal practice of human trafficking and labour exploitation.
A major problem identified in the cocoa industry is the illegal abduction, trafficking and exploitation of minors for work on the cocoa plantations which supply major chocolate retailers worldwide.
The US State Department conservatively estimates that over 10,000 children as young as 10 are working in conditions of modern-day slavery to harvest the cocoa beans needed for chocolate.
After meeting with Coles’ General Manager of Ethical Sourcing and Product Technology Jackie Healing in Melbourne on Wednesday, Oaktree’s Head of Campaigns Tim Lo Surdo said: “We recognise that human trafficking and slavery are a significant denial of human rights that is deeply related to extreme poverty.”
“In campaigning for an end to human trafficking and promoting fair trade, Oaktree is addressing the systemic issues that promote inequality and the very existence of extreme poverty.”
The Fairtrade system assist producers in ensuring that they are paid ethically through a minimum price for fairtrade certified products, and a premium paid directly to producers for investment into their business or communities.
Oaktree is Australia’s largest youth-led anti-poverty organisation. For more information on the ‘Traffik Free Easter’ campaign visit www.oaktree.org/traffik_free_easter
Image: Oaktree meet with Coles (Credit: Oaktree).