January 19th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

iReport challenge: Fair trade chocolate creations

Tens of thousands of children toil in cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast, some against their will, to create the chocolate bars that many of us enjoy.

In a CNN Freedom Project investigation, David McKenzie traveled to the West African country and discovered that despite promises the global chocolate industry made a decade ago to end forced labor, there are still child slaves harvesting cocoa, even though some have never tasted chocolate and some don't even know what the word "chocolate" means.

It can be hard to find ethically produced cocoa, but the "fair trade" designation helps ensures that farmers receive a fair price and prohibits the use of slave and child labor.

For this Freedom Project challenge, we invite you to create a dish using fair trade chocolate, with bonus points to those who make a delicacy that’s special to their country or region.

Submit a photo or video showing off your creation, and tell us about the experience, including any obstacles you faced in finding or using fair trade chocolate. Please include the recipe you used.

The best submissions will be shown on CNN International, Eatocracy and the CNN Freedom Project blog. FULL POST

January 19th, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Child slavery and chocolate: All too easy to find

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN

Daloa, Ivory Coast (CNN) - Chocolate’s billion-dollar industry starts with workers like Abdul. He squats with a gang of a dozen harvesters on an Ivory Coast farm.

Abdul holds the yellow cocoa pod lengthwise and gives it two quick cracks, snapping it open to reveal milky white cocoa beans. He dumps the beans on a growing pile.

Abdul is 10 years old, a three-year veteran of the job.

He has never tasted chocolate. FULL POST

Slavery in cocoa fields: A horrible ‘normal’
January 19th, 2012
11:49 AM ET

Slavery in cocoa fields: A horrible ‘normal’

In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN

The Freedom Project wanted our team to answer one question: Ten years after all the major players in the chocolate industry promised to end trafficking and child labor in Ivory Coast, was that promise kept?

So that's how we found ourselves, four journalists and a driver, crammed into a silver SUV, driving toward Daloa with the faded luxury of Abidjan’s skyscrapers behind us. Market towns became bush and the traffic thinned as we chewed up the miles. FULL POST

January 19th, 2012
09:34 AM ET

Former domestic slave reunited with mother in Taiwan

When she was about 7, Isabel was sold into domestic servitude to a wealthy Taiwan family who later moved to California. She endured a childhood of constant work and beatings and only escaped when she was in her 20s.

CNN's Martin Savidge first talked to Isabel about her story in November. In that conversation, Isabel said her wish was to be reunited with her mother. "If I find her I say Mom I love you so much. I still want to find you," she said.

Her story sparked a media storm in Taiwan and the country's foreign minister helped locate Isabel's family.

On Thursday, after 20 years, Isabel got her wish and was finally reunited with her mother. FULL POST