The Dark Side of Chocolate

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The Dark Side of Chocolate
Directed by
Music by Jonas Colstrup
Edited by Andreas Birch Eriksen
Release dates
  • 16 March 2010 (2010-03-16)
Country Denmark
Language English

The Dark Side of Chocolate is a 2010 documentary film about the exploitation and slavetrading of African children to harvest chocolate[1] still occurring nearly ten years after the cocoa industry pledged to end it.[2]


Cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast provide 80% of the world with chocolate, according to CorpWatch.[3] Chocolate producers around the world have been pressured to “verify that their chocolate is not the product of child labor or slavery.”[4]

In 2000, BBC aired Slavery: A Global Investigation which brought the issue of child labor in the cooca industry to light.[5]

In 2001, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association and its members signed a document that prohibited child trafficking and labor in the cocoa industry after 2008. Despite this effort, numerous children are still forced to work on cocoa plantations in Africa.

In 2009, Mars and Cadbury joined the Rainforest Alliance to fight against child labor. By 2020, these major chocolate manufacturers hope to completely eradicate child labor on any plantations from which they purchase their cocoa.[6]


The Dark Side of Chocolate was produced by Danish journalist Miki Mistrati who investigated the use of child labor and trafficked children in chocolate production.[7] It is filmed by U. Roberto Romano.

The filming started in Germany, where Mistrati asked vendors where their chocolate comes from. They then flew to Mali, where many of the children are from. Next, they explored the Ivory Coast where the cocoa plantations are located. The film ends in Switzerland where both the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Nestle headquarters are located.

Much of the footage in this documentary is recorded using a secret camera.

The documentary was released in 2010, first in Denmark, and later in Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, and Norway.[8]


In 2001, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association formed an action plan entitled the Harkin-Engel Protocol aimed at ending child trafficking and slave labor in the cocoa industry.[9]

The documentary starts in Cologne, Germany where Mistrati asks several chocolate company representatives whether they are aware of child labour in cocoa farms. In Mali, the film shows that children, having been promised paid work, are taken to towns near the border such as Zegoua, from where another trafficker transports the children over the border on a dirt-bike. Then they are left with a third trafficker who sells the children to farmers for around 250 Euros each.

The children, ranging in age from 10 to 15, are forced to do hard and often hazardous labor, are often beaten, and most are never paid. Most of them stay with the plantation until they die, never seeing their families again. The Harkin-Engel Protocol, an agreement that was signed by the major chocolate companies almost 10 years before the film was made, promised to end the use of child labour.[10]

When confronted with this issue, corporate representatives denied all rumors of child labor and trafficking, but the investigations of the filmmakers brought to light the continued widespread use of trafficked child slaves on cocoa plantations.

Nestle and other companies declined an invitation to watch the film and to answer questions. In response, Mistrati set up a large screen next to Nestle’s headquarters in Switzerland, forcing employees to catch a glimpse of child labor in the cocoa industry.

As a closing edit window to the film, during the credits roll, we see the local police arrive, to ask why they are showing the film outside Nestle's Head Office in Vevey, Switzerland. The police ask if the film is 'for or against Nestle'. The reply is "It is not against". After checking their documents the policeman says "we turn it off", referring to showing the film.


In 2012, The Dark Side of Chocolate was nominated for the Adolf Grimme Award in 2012 in the category of Information & Culture.[11][12]


A film by Miki Mistrati & U. Roberto Romano

Journalist: Svante Karlshoej Ipsen

Script: Miki Mistrati

Editor: Andreas Birch Eriksen

Research: Ditte Nielsen, Svante Karlshoej Ipsen, Miki Mistrati, U. Roberto Romano, Youchaou Traor, Assoumane Maiga

Photographers: Henrik Bohn Ipsen, U. Roberto Romano, Niels Thastum

Assistant Photographer: Miki Mistrati

Color Grade: Andreas Birch Eriksen

Sound: Bobby Hess, Asser Borgen

Sound Assistant: Ingeborg Holten

Composer: Jonas Colstrup

Graphics: Benny Box

Narrator: David Bateson

Production Managers: Mathilde Hvid Lippmann, Joel Norup Soegaard

Production Assistants: Markus Ramlau, Helene Juncher Jensen, Rasmus Odgaard

Technical Assistance: Jonas Abildgaard

Translations: Helene Juncher Jensen, Tolkegruppen Koebenhavn, Prestige Network Ltd.

Webdesign: Kalle Graverholt

Special Thanks To: Osange Silou-Kieffer, Bernard Kieffer, Fabian Abitbol, ProShop Europe

Executive Producer: Helle Faber

Produced in Corporation With: Mette Hoffmann (DR2) & Barbara Biemann (NDR)

Produced With the Support From: Danida, Media, Pools and Lottery Funds of the Ministry of Education, Monique Dobretz (TSR), Axel Arno (SVT), Arto Hyvonen (YLE), ERR Jaspreet Singh Syan

By Bastard Film & TV[13] (located in Copenhagen, Denmark[14])


  1. ^ COLUMN: Chocolate industry built on blood and sweat of child slaves, Lonnie Allen, Central Michigan Life, 18 October 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2010)
  2. ^ Film Shows Cocoa Child Slavery Continues, Adrienne Fitch-Frankel, Fair Trade Blog, Global Exchange, 4 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2010)
  3. ^ AFRICA: The Dark Side of Chocolate, Kate McMahon, CorpWatch, 25 October 2005 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  4. ^ The dark side of chocolate: Are candy companies doing enough to end child labor?, Sara Peck, "News Review", 05 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  5. ^ Ghana Consultative Meeting 2010, Tulane University, 11 June 2010 (retrieved 6 November 2012)
  6. ^ The dark side of chocolate: Are candy companies doing enough to end child labor?, Sara Peck, "News Review", 05 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  7. ^ Feature film exposes the dark side of treat, Jenny Jelen, Northern Life, 19 October 2010 (retrieved 20 October 2010)
  8. ^ The Dark Side of Chocolate Official Website
  9. ^ Chocolate and Slavery, Samlanchith Chanthavong, "Chocolate and Slavery", 2002
  10. ^ The dark side of chocolate: Are candy companies doing enough to end child labor?, Sara Peck, "News Review", 05 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  11. ^ Miki Mistrati -
  12. ^ Miki Mistrati - LinkedIn
  13. ^ The Dark Side of Chocolate Official Website
  14. ^ Contact Database

External links[edit]