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We, the BFS, commit ourselves to a more faithful living of the Gospel….We commit ourselves to radical conversion as we embrace Global Fraternity

-from BFS 15th General Chapter 

Human Trafficking-Modern Slavery


Every year at least 1.2 million youngsters under the age of 18 years of age are sold into some form of slave labor.


There are 211 million child laborers, between the ages of 5 and 14. Of these, 171 million work in risky conditions. About 120 million children work full time.


(Fides, the News Agency for the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Jan. 2006)


Coffee and
cocoa beans
should bring
dignity to the pickers, as
well as
pleasure to consumers.

On the commodities exchange in New York, cocoa prices fluctuate

dramatically, while the price tag of a chocolate bar stays nearly the same.  North Americans and Europeans consume 80% of the cocoa supplied by the third world.  When you buy a 75¢ candy bar, 70¢ goes to the company, 5¢ to the farmer.  M&M, the largest chocolate producer in the world, has annual profits of about $16 billion per year.  Yet M&M

refuses to buy fair trade chocolate.  Fair Trade chocolate ensures a living wage to those who harvest cocoa and helps eliminate the need to resort to child trafficking. It gives children a chance to receive an education and create a life for themselves.

ACTION: To find out where to obtain Fair Trade chocolate, visit:


Both the non-Fair Trade and the Fair Trade coffee supply chains

start with the farmers who plant and tend the coffee trees. At

this point, the Fair Trade supply chain splits off from the rest of the coffee.



Pickers (may include children) are paid a couple

cents for every pound of coffee they harvest. Harvested coffee

is sold to wholesalers or collectors for washing and drying.

It is transported and sold at auction by exporters to a roasting

company. The company roasts and blends it with other kinds

of coffee and prepares it for the final consumer. When it

reaches your cup it has been marked up 1200-1500% (or more to the largest

markup the market allows) from the prices that are paid to farmers.



No children will be pickers! Pickers are paid a living wage. The

farmer sells the coffee to the Fair Trade Cooperative of which he

is a member. The cooperative washes, dries, and packages the

coffee for sale and shipment to Alternative Trading Organizations

(ATOs) for a minimum of $1.26 per pound. The ATOs roast and

package the coffee for sale to the final consumer. www.ocdc.coop/fairtrade/coffee.htm

adapted from Stop Human Trafficking! Newsletter, “Child Slavery Today” HO




Child labor is prevalent
everywhere, more so in
South and Central America.
These two children, six and
eight years old, pick coffee
beans for 10 hours a day on
the mountainsides in
Honduras, filling baskets
with ripe red coffee beans
for a few dollars.

Click Here for
more information


Buying products
showing the Fair
Trade label
guarantees that
the workers are
free, have been
paid a living
wage, and can
send their own

children to school.


What You can Do


Educate yourself. Good sources of information include:






Kevin Bales’ book
Disposable People
(University of California
Press, 2000) is a
thoroughly researched
expose of modern day slavery.





Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis
450 St. Bernardine Street, Reading, PA 19607      |      484-334-6957      |    © 2012

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