Reverse-Trick-or-Treating: A sweet surprise at your door this Halloween



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    OTTAWA, Oct. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Thousands of costumed trick-or-treaters
across Canada are turning the traditional Halloween ritual on its head; for
the second year in a row, it is the trick-or-treaters who are handing out
chocolate. Hundreds of thousands of Fair Trade Certified chocolate samples
will be given out across North America to raise awareness on the persistent
problems of poverty in cocoa-growing communities, the use of exploited child
labour in the cocoa fields of countries like Cote D'Ivoire, which produces
40 percent of the world's cocoa, and the environmental damage resulting from
unsustainable farming practices. Participants will reach nearly a quarter of a
million households in Canada and the United States in a single night.
    Last July 1, 2008, the chocolate industry yet again failed to meet a
self-imposed deadline under the conditions of the 2001 Harkin-Engel Protocol,
a voluntary industry initiative that calls for an end to abusive child labour
in the cocoa industry. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture
for the United States State Department has estimated that 284,000 children
work in abusive child labour conditions on cocoa farms in West Africa, the
world's largest cocoa producer, and that 64% of those children are under 14
years old. According to U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Eliot Engel,
"The Harkin-Engel protocol is a foundation for the future - a future where
consumers have the tools to make informed choices based on how the products
they purchase are made. (...) Of major concern is the continued need,
underscored in the report, for an increased focus on and coordination of
remediation efforts for children engaged in the worst forms of child labour,
with particular attention to those children engaged in the application of
chemicals."
    The Fair Trade Certified chocolates being distributed this Halloween
guarantee a fair price for farmers, as well as premiums to invest in health
care, safe water, education and business infrastructure. Fair Trade
certification requires farmers to abide by international labour laws that
prohibit illegal child labour while also ensuring that farmers receive a
stable price for their cocoa and that environmentally sustainable farming
practices are utilized. Leading the campaign is Canada's national
certification and education organization, TransFair Canada, in partnership
with Engineers Without Borders, WUSC, Equiterre and the Manitoba Council for
International Cooperation, as well as 100% Fair Trade Certified chocolate
companies La Siembra Co-operative/Cocoa Camino, Just Us!, Equita and Zazubean.
    "Through this campaign we hope to share the message that our actions can
lead to larger reforms in the cocoa industry", says Shannon Sutton of La
Siembra Co-operative, makers of Cocoa Camino Fair Trade Certified chocolate.
"This is a chance for Canadians to reflect on our purchases - both at
Halloween and the other 365 days of the year."
    Fair Trade Certified products are readily available across Canada. For
further information about this campaign please visit
www.reversetrickortreating.org/ca.

    
    Notes for Editors
    -----------------
    1. The Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign is an initiative of the human
rights advocacy group Global Exchange, which has a long track record of
successfully encouraging major corporations to reform business practices.

    2. The 225,000 Fair Trade Certified Chocolates and informational cards
have been provided in Canada by Cocoa Camino and Just Us! and in the United
States by Equal Exchange and Alter Eco.

    3. Further information, including a statement released by 47 organizations
and fair trade companies around the world: "Commitment to Ethical Cocoa
Sourcing: Abolishing Unfair Labor Practices and Addressing Their Root Causes,"
is available at www.reversetrickortreating.org.
    




For further information:

For further information: or to interview a participating family or to
follow children during reverse-trick-or-treating: Cynthia Wagner, (613)
563-3351, ext 21, cynthia.wagner@transfair.ca

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TRANSFAIR CANADA

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