Beneath the Barcode

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We all love our chocolate, but few people realize that the cocoa beans at the heart of one of our favorite treats are picked by children. 60% of the world's cocoa is sourced from West Africa where nearly two million children work as forced laborers. Half of them suffer injuries along with exposure to pesticides. Thousands of these children are trafficked for forced labor in Ghana and the Ivory Coast and spend years separated from their families. Meanwhile, the chocolate industry has done little to stop the practice of exploiting children to make outsized profits, half a trillion dollars in the last decade.

© U.R. Romano

© U.R. Romano

How can consumers enjoy the chocolate they love without harming children who work in the supply chains of some of the world's best-known brands?

Our new documentary photo exhibit, Beneath the Barcode, provides the tools consumers need to help become informed consumers. The exhibit has been developed for middle schools, libraries, high schools and universities and will be available in 2019. It examines child labor in tobacco, coffee, electronics disposal, light manufacturing, clothing, carpets and especially agricultural products with an emphasis on child labor in our U.S. food supply.

Included with the exhibit is the interactive Beneath the Barcode Action Kit which provides an array of applications, best practice programs, short films and organizations who can help you make more ethical buying choices.

Beneath the Barcode comes at a time when 152 million children still work in child labor instead of going to school.

Help support our educational outreach and make an end-of-year donation to Media Voices for Children.