Are people slaving for KitKat?

Since the horrendous last minutes of George Floyd’s life in the hands of US police the resulting outrage and media coverage has led to greater awareness of present day injustices and also a gives us a reminder of historical atrocities such as those that were part of the slave trade.

Where the Lancaster Slave Trade and Fair Trade Town Trail nears the Millennium Bridge there is a memorial by Kevin Dalton to those Captured Africans who suffered as a result of Lancaster’s involvement in the slave trade.

In the same way that people in our district enjoyed the luxuries of the slave trade when purchasing cotton and rum we can easily be tempted to buy commodities such as chocolate products without concern for the possibility that those producing the raw materials are working in unacceptable conditions with unfair pay.

We have the advantage that many of our luxuries carry the Fairtrade Mark indicating that they have Fairtrade Certification as explained in the “What is Fairtrade” section in the About page of this web site.

In his letter to the 23rd July edition of Lancaster Guardian Arton Medd of Lancaster makes suggestions about how we can help to promote fairness to those who suffer today:

“I have seen schools, health centres and clean water supply points in Ghanaian villages where cocoa farmers live which were built by the local cocoa cooperatives from Fairtrade premium money. Each one of us can help such farmers and their communities by buying only chocolate products bearing the Fairtrade mark.

We can also take action by signing a petition Keep-KitKat-Fairtrade as Nestlé has stated that it will no longer be using Fairtrade chocolate in its  KitKat bars. The petition is promoted by the Fairtrade group in York, which is where the KitKat bars are made, and the group are also asking us to boycott KitKat and to buy other snacks instead.

As well as being honest about Lancaster’s slave trade links in the past, we need also to look forward as to how we can be of help to the people in the countries which were decimated by the slave trade, and supporting Fairtrade is one such way.


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