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The way developed countries get a lot of their produce nowadays is pretty disgusting, especially when people are ignorant to the kind of exploitation that's occurring.
Try and buy fair trade whenever possible. In Costa Rica there are fair trade banana plantations in the middle of the rainforest, with no forest clearing or anything! It looked just like natural rainforest, and was surrounded by natural rainforest ecosystem!
 

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Originally Posted by Green_Gentleman View Post

Let's be clear on a few things. First, there is a difference between child labor and child slavery. It doesn't seem to be the case above, but sometimes children want to work or have to work to supplement the family income. The children could also be in school. When I was in Guatemala, little boys would go around asking if people wanted shoe shines. However, they only did this on the weekend and were still in school. Child labor, yes. Child slavery, I don't think so unless they had some sort of manager forcing them to do it.

Second of all, let's be careful about what we define as child LABOR (I feel slavery is inherently bad) and if it's necessarily a bad thing. I think we have a tendency to think the world should follow our norms. In the U.S., one can work at age 16, but a 13 year-old would be considered child labor. Why do we draw the line here? We have our own cultural biases about what childhood actually is and when it ends. Some cultures would also contend that children working is an important part of growing into an adult and don't particularly care for us to force our values and biases onto them.

It's difficult to get people to see the cause and effect of their consumption. Most people need things (perceived or real needs), so they go to the store and buy them without thinking about the process by which the product was made. Though we can train our minds to think differently, I think our brains just function on a simple level because we dealth with very simple things for the majority of our species's existence.

I bought some organic, fair trade chocolate the other day (although, some investigations into "fair trade" have found less than ideal situations) . It was delicious. It as also $4.50 for a bar, but I don't need chocolate that often and when I do, I can at least support something that I find ethical. Perhaps the parents of these children will become wealthier as a result of me spending a little bit more and will have a choice for their children's future.
Societies usually go through a trend of phasing out child labour in any form the more they develop. It's like how in the UK we used to have chimney sweeps, work houses etc. I don't think opposing children working in fields hours a day, being subjected to dangerous pesticides and not having time for a proper education, perpetuating the system of an uneducated population being exploited by corporations is a bad thing.
We should give more international aid to these developing countries to help them develop and to help them avoid having to continue this cycle.
 

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Originally Posted by paperhanger View Post

What do you mean by "international aid?" DO you have any specific programs in mind?
Well there are plenty of programs, just look at some of the things development assistance committee member states do.
 

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Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

I think it's important to remember that there are some baby steps we can take if we're not willing or able to choose fair trade all the time. This blog post suggests some various ways to start changing the trend so that more and more chocolates are produced in ways that are fair: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com...halloween.html The ideas in that post can be used for various other foods, too.

For example, I don't buy fair trade everything. But I do make sure that most of the coffee, bananas, and chocolate I buy is fair trade.
*like*
 
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