A New Slavery? Angela V. John Looks at the Uncomfortably Long and Close Links between Slavery and the Cocoa Trade. (Cross Current)
John, Angela V., History Today
OFF THE WEST African coast is a slave ship laden with human cargo. Its occupants are bound for cocoa plantations far away where they will spend the rest of their lives toiling to supply the world's demand for cocoa beans. Meanwhile in Britain, a centre of chocolate manufacturing and consumption, many are shocked to hear that slavery, supposedly illegal and consigned to history, persists. Anti-Slavery campaigners urge boycotts. Cadburys and other chocolate firms seek to reconcile their humanitarian reputation with their business interests and pressure is put on the government to intervene. There are investigations, deputations, reports and a court case. The press plays a key role in publicising the situation, revealing European connections and a complicated network of traffickers seeking to exculpate themselves from blame. It is 1906.
In April 2001, as British shops sells Easter eggs, a shocking story of child slavery hits the media. A purported slave ship, owned by a Nigerian footballer living in Germany and carrying several hundred children from Benin, is reported missing after being refused entry to Gabon and Cameroon. When the MV Etireno returns to Benin, forty-three children are found. UNICEF becomes involved and warrants are issued for the arrest of the captain, crew and implicated businessmen. A widespread and thriving slave-trafficking business is revealed. Desperately poor parents sell young children in the hope that they will have better opportunities in neighbouring …
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Publication information: Article title: A New Slavery? Angela V. John Looks at the Uncomfortably Long and Close Links between Slavery and the Cocoa Trade. (Cross Current). Contributors: John, Angela V. - Author. Magazine title: History Today. Volume: 52. Issue: 6 Publication date: June 2002. Page number: 34+. © 2009 History Today Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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