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Your comments

Paul Kenyon with Fatao and his mum
Paul Kenyon reunited trafficked 12-year-old Fatao with his mother

Thank you for sending us your comments.

The debate is now closed but a selection of your views are published below.

Panorama, Chocolate: The Bitter Truth was broadcast on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday, 24 March 2010.

In the UK, you can watch the programme here.


Chocolate in any form is now banned from my house. If chocolate suppliers know that this is happening why do they carry on buying. All cocoa bean farms should be made legal. I can't believe that Fair Trade can't even guarantee that child labour/trafficking is not used on their farm. I agree with Paul Kenyon. Put it on the wrappers.

- Julia Willson

Thank you for the report. It was very brave for Paul Kenyon and the Panorama team for exposing what goes on behind the scenes of all these mega corporations. It was very sad to see all these children suffering , exploited, being denied of their very basic rights to be children and not slaves. I really did not have any idea that this was going on and now I won't be buying any chocolate that isn't fairtrade.

- Silvia Wilson

As a parent I can see nothing wrong with child labour provided that it: 1) Is in conjunction with regular schooling 2) Minimum ages and working conditions are in place 3) The child is rewarded in some way - financial (long or short term) or otherwise (meals, drinks etc.) for their efforts The documentary, whilst enlightening did not come as a surprise and I have seen far worse living conditions in countries to which I have travelled and I am in no way connected to this industry.

- Chris

Thank you for an eye opening programme. I have not eaten a piece of chocolate for over 4 years that has not had a fairtrade label on it after learning the truth as told in your programme. Thank you for reuniting a child and mother it made me cry. There is so much to do but we have to keep putting pressure on the confectionary companies to take responsibility and put back into the communities what they take out.

- Debra Mayo

After watching last nights programme, 'The Bitter Truth' I was shocked and appalled to discover how coca beans are harvested and by whom! Even more shocking was the realisation that Fair Trade chocolate is/has still been made with coca beans harvested etc by children sold into slavery by other family members etc. My family and I feel guilty about the chocolate we have eaten and never given a thought about its origins. How can we as a minority make any difference to this on-going situation I wonder? Yes we could boycott buying and eating chocolate but what difference can we alone make? Obviously chocolate manufacturers do not clearly care as long as they are making a profit, which they very clearly are.

- Rachelle Kelly

So western, so arrogant. These places need to use child workers, just as the west once did. They may catch up in time to our ways if they are still seen as better. Everywhere would be better off without the interfering do gooders though. You force all their children to school what are they to do when they leave? The jobs are in coca growing and you removed their apprenticeship. Child labour is approved of if they go to school for a part of the day, so child labour is not the concern, forcing them to schools is. Do not worry, in time big western companies under the daft pressures from the likes of such programming will take over the growing, and automate it all, removing the entire peasant economy for a few better paid adult jobs. Just as it did here a century or so ago. Then you will be happy! Pass the cheap chocolate!

- JamesStGeorge

I have been a fan of Panorama for quite a while now, but was actually outraged by the perspective that was portrayed on Chocolate:The Bitter Truth. The programme seemed to strongly suggest that a western system of formal education (schooling) would somehow be a superior way of life for the children featured in program, who through cocoa farming, are actually learning a lot of practical life skills as well as spending quality time in the great outdoors. Are our children in Britain really better off by sitting in a classroom all day, starring at a computer screen and learning such absolute trivia as the names of Henry the 8th's wives? As a result of the program I am tempted to boycott fairtrade chocolate as I strongly disagree with imposing our futile and impractical system of formal education on other cultures. Surely we have moved on from the such colonist and missionary arrogance?

- Loukia Lucas

You ask if the consumer was willing to pay more for a bar of chocolate? Surely this would just add to the overall profits that the companies are making. Why are the companies not forced to plough a percentage of their profits back into the welfare and education of the workers. This applies to a lot of other companies including the clothing trade, soft drinks trade etc. Why do a lot of these companies not allow their workers to form/join unions? I don't think things will change very quickly as these companies have lawyers and politicians on their payrolls helping them make and keep their millions.

- Ali Field

Excellent programme on the West Africa cocoa bean issue. I think most people will be shocked that major chocolate brands are hoodwinking the public on a daily basis. I am absolutely disgusted that these chocolate companies are sourcing the cocoa beans from operations using child labour. How can we even trust products with fair trading logo's on the wrapper when this organisation comes across as ignorant and toothless to the cause they champion. I for one will not buy another one of these chocolate companies products again until they get their business in order. Once again the Panorama team should be commended for bringing this to the public's attention. Thank you.

- Jason Wilson

An excellent and enlightening program but it was left unclear whether there is any chocolate that can be eaten with confidence. Even when paying for what we believe to be the best chocolate can we be sure that no child labour is involved in the production?

- Anita White

It is deplorable how multi billion pound organisations hide behind local ' farming co-ops' in an attempt to exonerate themselves from any involvement in child labour activities. It was mentioned several times during the program that chocolate industries were 'planning' to invest millions... they should immediately put these plans into action. Until then I will no longer buy chocolate that does not bear suitable fair trade/child labour free marks. No logo... no purchase from now on.

- Andy

Well done for highlighting the issue of child trafficking in the chocolate industry. This is a huge problem, however I felt you were harsh on the Fairtrade foundation who are at least trying to do something, and you did not recognise the huge steps that have been taken by the chocolate companies so far, although there is much to do. I am also disappointed that you did not contact StopTheTraffik who have been campaigning since 2006, trafficking in the chocolate trade is only one part a much larger issue of human trafficking generally.

- Teresa Turner

Paul Kenyon mentions are we prepared to pay more for our chocolate to help the cocoa growers in Africa. The obvious answer to that is yes, however one only has to look at the balance sheets of the major producers to understand that they should be playing their part by paying more for their cocoa and making a little less in profit!

- Maureen

Thank you so much for making your latest programme on child labour in the cocoa industry. This is such a important subject of injustice in this world, and needs to be address and notified to the world, and general public. So then they know what is going on.

- Thomas Simpkins

This is a disgusting treatment of children used as slaves, all children used as slaves around the world because of economics. Capitalist transactions have no scruples. I and 150,0000 have been campaigning for a Robin hood tax on all banking transactions which if adopted globally could contribute to eradicating poverty and pressure then can be put on these traders and communities who rely on this trade or any similar trade.

- Steve Odlum



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