Fair Trade Fright Fest shines light on abuses
Event showcases “dark side of chocolate”
by Shannon Galley
With Halloween coming up, people around the globe will be stocking up on chocolate and candy to dole out to trick-or-treaters and to eat themselves.
When buying and consuming chocolate most are likely not thinking about where it was produced, but it must come from somewhere.
The Students’ Association of Mount Royal University wants to get students thinking and talking about where that chocolate comes from and what the implications are.
On Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. there will be a screening of Death By Chocolate, a film investigating child trafficking and labour in Africa’s chocolate industry — specifically in Mali and the Ivory Coast.
“At Halloween we all eat chocolate and we wanted to open it up for discussion to address the issue of fair trade effects,” said Stephanie Symington, co-ordinator for the Cultural Mosaic Centre, a group helping host the event. “We are looking at the cultural and social implications.”
Much of the chocolate produced for Halloween by major candy producers is not fair trade, a term meaning the producer of a product or service is ensuring that workers in developing countries are treated fairly.
Symington said the goal of the film screening is to create a conversation about these issues rather than to take a controversial stance on the issue.
The film screening will take place as part of Fair Trade Fright Fest and is going to be held in the gallery on the second floor of Wyckham House.
There will also be a guest speaker from Ten Thousand Villages, a chain of stores describing themselves as “commerce with a conscience,” and she is going to bring fair trade coffee and chocolate for a tasting.
In addition to the film screening and guest speaker, there will be a costume swap, reverse trick-or-treating and a cash bar.
People will be able to trade costumes or donate food for a costume and fair trade chocolate will be distributed as well. Symington says that costumes are “strongly encouraged.”