An estimated 21 million people are thought to be trapped in labor trafficking, according to the International Labour Organization. At 68 percent, the majority of these individuals are forced into labor such as agriculture, construction and manufacturing.
The chocolate industry, or rather the cocoa bean, is also largely dependent on forced labor.
The International Justice Mission, TCU’s anti-trafficking organization, promoted awareness on the issue on Wednesday with a screening of the documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”
The documentary investigated child trafficking and forced child labor at cocoa plantations in Africa.
The event drew about 50 to 60 people in Sid Richardson. Fair trade chocolate, which strictly prohibits the use of slave or child labor in production, was given out at the end of the documentary.
IJM President Madelyn Carter said she wants to teach people about what labor trafficking looks like and how to combat against it.
“This isn’t like a ‘don’t eat chocolate thing,’” said Carter, a senior majoring in entrepreneurial management. “It’s more having a critical concern for where the things you buy come from and who’s making your goods and where you’re putting your money towards.”
First-year child development major Darlene Ninziza said she is glad IJM is paying attention to the issue.
“I heard about child labor and trafficking before and that it was connected to Africa, and I am from Rwanda which is central Africa,” said Ninziza. “I didn’t expect there to be such a thing as this club and that they are concerned for something that’s happening so far away.”
Some students said the documentary made them more aware about child labor trafficking.
“I really did not know much about human trafficking to begin with and coming here really did open my eyes about the child labor industry,” said first-year student Oscar Hernandez. “We definitely need to pay attention to where we put out money.”
First-year pre-business major Andrea Carrasquilla said the documentary broadened her views on labor trafficking.
“I knew that there was human trafficking, but I didn’t know it could be with something as simple as chocolate,” said Carrasquilla. “There’s ways to make a difference. Even just educating is a good start.”
Carter said IJM’s goals include continuing to raise awareness about labor and sex trafficking as well as providing students options to take action.
“It’s just been cool to see TCU embraces us,” said Carter. “We’re a young club and we have a lot of support on campus which just shows the hearts of the TCU students are so caring and compassionate for this issue.
For more information visit TCU IJM’s Facebook page.