Most of Kansas City (and now much of the nation) watched in shock yesterday morning as news of a 10 month old abducted from her home in the night was announced. Many were appalled, frightened, and saddened by the thought of a sleeping baby plucked from her crib. It wasn’t a stretch for me to think of how it would feel if that were my child. If that were the hell that I were living. I can’t begin to fathom. But yet, I felt connected to the family and mourned with them. I keep checking the news to see if any new discoveries have been made or if maybe she has been found and returned to her mother’s arms.
There is another story of a child abduction though that hasn’t made the news. It’s a little boy. We know what happened to him. He was the tender age of 6 when he went missing. He was ripped from the arms of his family and is now performing very dangerous work as a child slave. It’s been years since this happened and nothing is being done. My heart aches for his mother who is still in mourning and dreams of her child getting to come back home.
But how much do I really mourn? How much do I really care? Do I care as much about that little boy as I do the baby girl? If I did, it would show in my actions.
That little boy was abducted from the Ivory Coast of Africa. He works on a cocoa farm. Long hours chopping cocoa pods with a machete. Not only do I not mourn enough for him, I support his kidnappers. Every time I buy a chocolate bar from Hershey’s, Nestle, Mars, or basically any snack-sized bar of chocolate in the United States I give money to his captors and tell them to keep up the good work.
Halloween is fast approaching. I hope that sweet little 10 month old baby is returned to her parents. And I refuse to support the kidnapping and exploitation of children around the world. Financially supporting corporations by buying products produced with child labor sends the message loud and clear that cheap chocolate means more to you than a child’s life. Children in Africa have as much value as children in our own home towns.
For more information about child labor in the production of chocolate, check out this documentary produced by the BBC.