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Reverse-Trick-or-Treating: A sweet surprise at your door this Halloween

www.newswire.ca

Thousands of costumed trick-or-treaters across Canada are turning the traditional Halloween ritual on its head; for the second year in a row, it is the trick-or-treaters who are handing out chocolate.

Hundreds of thousands of Fair Trade Certified chocolate samples will be given out across North America to raise awareness on the persistent problems of poverty in cocoa-growing communities, the use of exploited child labour in the cocoa fields of countries like Cote D’Ivoire, which produces 40 percent of the world’s cocoa, and the environmental damage resulting from unsustainable farming practices. Participants will reach nearly a quarter of a million households in Canada and the United States in a single night.

Last July 1, 2008, the chocolate industry yet again failed to meet a self-imposed deadline under the conditions of the 2001 Harkin-Engel Protocol, a voluntary industry initiative that calls for an end to abusive child labour in the cocoa industry. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture for the United States State Department has estimated that 284,000 children work in abusive child labour conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa, the world’s largest cocoa producer, and that 64% of those children are under 14 years old.

According to U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Eliot Engel, “The Harkin-Engel protocol is a foundation for the future – a future where consumers have the tools to make informed choices based on how the products they purchase are made. (…) Of major concern is the continued need, underscored in the report, for an increased focus on and coordination of remediation efforts for children engaged in the worst forms of child labour, with particular attention to those children engaged in the application of chemicals.”

The Fair Trade Certified chocolates being distributed this Halloween guarantee a fair price for farmers, as well as premiums to invest in health care, safe water, education and business infrastructure. Fair Trade certification requires farmers to abide by international labour laws that prohibit illegal child labour while also ensuring that farmers receive a stable price for their cocoa and that environmentally sustainable farming practices are utilized. Leading the campaign is Canada’s national certification and education organization, TransFair Canada, in partnership with Engineers Without Borders, WUSC, Equiterre and the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, as well as 100% Fair Trade Certified chocolate companies La Siembra Co-operative/Cocoa Camino, Just Us!, Equita and Zazubean.

“Through this campaign we hope to share the message that our actions can lead to larger reforms in the cocoa industry”, says Shannon Sutton of La Siembra Co-operative, makers of Cocoa Camino Fair Trade Certified chocolate.

“This is a chance for Canadians to reflect on our purchases – both at Halloween and the other 365 days of the year.”

Fair Trade Certified products are readily available across Canada. For further information about this campaign please visit www.reversetrickortreating.org/ca.

  
    Notes for Editors
    —————–
    1. The Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign is an initiative of the human
rights advocacy group Global Exchange, which has a long track record of
successfully encouraging major corporations to reform business practices.

    2. The 225,000 Fair Trade Certified Chocolates and informational cards
have been provided in Canada by Cocoa Camino and Just Us! and in the United
States by Equal Exchange and Alter Eco.

    3. Further information, including a statement released by 47 organizations
and fair trade companies around the world: “Commitment to Ethical Cocoa
Sourcing: Abolishing Unfair Labor Practices and Addressing Their Root Causes,”
is available at www.reversetrickortreating.org.

For further information: or to interview a participating family or to
follow children during reverse-trick-or-treating: Cynthia Wagner, (613)
563-3351, ext 21, cynthia.wagner@transfair.ca.

1 Comments

  1. mary washington

    MY NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATION
    GOD’S SQUAD COMMUNITY MINISTRY
    IS STARTING A REVERSE FAIR TRADE EFFORT???
    WE ARE GOING TO PROVIDE AS CLOSE TO GOURMET MEALS AS WE CAN IN THE COMMUNITY WE SERVE FOR AS LITTLE AS .50 CENTS A PLATE
    THE PORTIONS OF COURSE WILL BE SMALLER BUT QUALITY. . . AND NOT FROM A SOUP KITCHEN. . . WE HOPE TO GIVE BACK SOME DIGNITY TO DISENFRANCHISED INDIVIDUALS

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