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September 2011

Letter to the Editor Action

This is a sample letter-to-the-editor in advance of September 19, the ten-year anniversary of the signing of the Harkin-Engel protocol.

Copy the text of this letter into an email or letter for the editor of your local paper. You can sutomize the letter as you wish. Be sure to send it in by Thursday September 15th.

To the Editor:

As another Halloween approaches and parents in the <NAME OF CITY> area think about buying chocolate as “treats” for children, here is something to consider: The chocolate you buy could be tainted with child labor.

Monday, September 19th marks the ten-year anniversary of the signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol -- an agreement by the country’s largest chocolate companies to put an end to forced child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa by 2005.

Ten years later, not enough progress has been made.  Hundreds of thousands of children are still forced to work under abusive conditions for long hours on cocoa farms in West Africa, while others are victims of trafficking and forced labor. 

The largest chocolate manufacturer in the United States, Hershey, lags behind its competitors in eliminating these abuses from its cocoa supply chain. What's more, news recently surfaced that Hershey has been exploiting student guestworkers here in the US in one of its packing facilities.

Some of Hershey’s competitors, including Mars and Nestle, have committed to start sourcing cocoa that is independently certified to comply with labor rights standards.

I urge Hershey -- the most iconic chocolate company in the US -- to protect workers from bean to bar and certify its chocolate as Fair Trade, ensuring that forced child labor is removed from its chocolate bars, its kisses, and its peanut butter cups.

In the meantime, I’ll be handing out Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate to my trick-or-treaters this Halloween.

Sincerely,

Name

Address

City State

For confirmation only:  phone number and e-mail address