Typically, when we think of extractive industries we think of oil, natural gas, or gemstones. But as our backgrounder on the industry points out, extractivism is simply a model of production that “exploits natural resources on a massive scale,” where the profits do not benefit the local community. “Natural resources” can include cash crops like palm, soy, or cacao.
As we approach Easter, inevitably we’ll see in our grocery stores a plentiful array of chocolates shaped like bunny rabbits, crosses, and eggs, all wrapped in colorful pastel foil wrappings that remind us of the joyful life-giving spring and Easter seasons.
What we don’t see, however, is the darker side of those delicious looking candies. We don’t see the child slave that picked the cacao that turned into the delectable looking delight on the grocery shelf, that we have such abundant access to, and which we so freely enjoy.
But slavery is rampant in the chocolate industry. One boy, a victim of exploitation himself, upon being interviewed by BBC filmmakers for a documentary on the subject, said: “They are enjoying something I suffered to make. They are eating my flesh.”