CNN Asks 'How Ethical Is Your Easter Basket?'

Four days before the holiest time of the year for Christians, CNN.com actually asked, "How ethical is your Easter basket?"

This was the headline for the video of a CNN Newsroom segment Wednesday about child slaves being used to harvest cocoa in West Africa (video follows with fuller transcript and commentary):

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So before you start buying the Easter chocolate this weekend, something you should consider, is it contributing to child slavery. Turns out that most of the world's cocoa fields are in West Africa. Hundreds of thousands of children are forced to work in those fields. David Mattingly takes us to one of the farms in Ivory Coast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this farm we find Abdul. He survived three years of work. He's just 10. He earns no wages for his work, he says, just food, the occasional tip from the owner, and the torn clothes on his back. Put in the simplest of terms, Abdul is a child slave.

We move away from the group so he can speak more freely. And through our translator, he tells us his story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he had a choice, he wouldn't work.

MATTINGLY: Abdul says he's from neighboring Burkina Faso. When his father died, he says, a stranger brought him to Ivory Coast. Abdul has never eaten chocolate. He tells us he doesn't even know what cocoa is for.

We met Yacu on the same farm, also from Burkina Faso. "My mother brought me when my father died," he tells me." Yacu insists he's 16, but he looks much younger. His legs bare machete scars from hours clearing the bush. The emotional scars seem much deeper. "I wish I could just go to school," he says, "to learn to read and write." But Yacu says he's never spent a day in school.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: David Mattingly's report is part of CNN's "Freedom Project." It's a commitment to helping end modern day slavery. The bitter truth behind the chocolate in your Easter basket, it is one of the lead stories on CNN's Eatocracy website. Its managing editor, Kat Kinsman, she is joining us from New York.

So, first of all, I mean it's -- a lot of people would not suspect that this is happening, that this is taking place. If you're buying chocolate, how do you know whether or not it's actually contributing to child slavery, like the little boy we saw there?


Certainly, this is a serious matter.

But does CNN have to bring attention to it four days before Easter?

As the network just aired a special about this in January, couldn't it have been sensitive to America's Christians by not addressing it again so close to such a holy day?

Or is that asking too much?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.