As most of the world’s children tucked into their Easter Eggs and chocolate rabbits this weekend, a sinister and unspoken reality was unfolding off the coast of West Africa: the fate of the “chocolate slaves”. The slave ship, MV Etireno, was expected to dock two days ago in Benin, but to date, and due possibly to international press reports, it has not. The major fear is that the runners of the trade have destroyed all evidence, dumping the surviving “human cargo” overboard. Conditions on board the ship are reported to have been calamitous, with a severe shortage of food and water for the number of child slaves transported, on a vessel which was overcrowded. The “chocolate slaves” are the children of western Africa sold into slavery to work on cocoa plantations. These produce more than half the world’s chocolate production. Most of the nice Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits sold around the world, adorned with pretty ribbons, are the result of this slave labour involving children from 9 to 12 years of age. Most of these children are sold by their families in Mali, Benin, Central African Republic and Togo. Those who are not sold are kidnapped as they play innocently outside their homes. Children in this part of Africa can be sold for as little as 15 USD. Males are sold to work in the cocoa plantations, and these may number as many as 15,000, according to UNICEF. Females are predictably sold into prostitution rings or as concubines in harems. Today’s slave traders are Africans and Lebanese. This horrific revelation is part of a universal trend towards a total lack of respect for individual rights of children, starting with slavery in western Africa, continuing with sexual slavery practices in South America and culminating in thousands of child soldiers in various wars around the world. If Man cannot take care of his own species, the future for this same species is threatened, especially when it is our children who are the victims of the constant factor of human vice.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
Over the past week (September 17-23), Russian troops carried out 12 strikes with the use of long-range precision weapons and drones targeting army bases of the Armed Forces of Ukraine