HPA Wins Four-Year Battle against Child Slavery

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Jan 22, 2015

Posted by: Catherine

News

Recently, the HPA (Harry Potter Alliance) made us proud to be Harry Potter fans. The Harry Potter Alliance launched a campaign in October 2010, with the help of John Green, advocating against the use of sweatshop labor, specifically child slavery. The HPA were particularly focused on persuading Warner Bros. to stop producing Harry Potter chocolate and other candies, that were supplied to Warner Bros. by a company who received the grade of an “F” from Free 2 Work, an anti-slavery organization. This supplier provided Warner Bros. Harry Potter branded candy for Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and other Harry Potter shops. In alliance with Free 2 Work and Walk Free, the HPA petitioned the Warner Bros. to be open about the groups’ findings, and change their ways. The HPA made Howler videos, had plans to hang a Dark Mark above Warner Bros. Studios, and got in contact with J.K. Rowling’s lawyer, who made inquiries. Warner Bros. sent HPA founder, Andrew Slack, and HPA’s Harry Potter Global Franchise Development president, Joshua Berger, a letter stating that “By the end of 2015, and sooner when possible, all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent UTZ or Fair Trade certified.” The Washington Post reports:

Chocolate and candy play an important role in the “Harry Potter” books. After he leaves his abusive aunt and uncle to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry is boggled by the abundance of sweets his peers have access to; chocolate is a symbol of how Hogwarts will be the first place that really nourishes Harry’s body and his mind. And chocolate is big real-world business in the “Harry Potter” empire: You can buy Chocolate Frogs, one of the series’ signature sweets. Slack said. ” ‘Harry Potter,’ more and more, is becoming a classic, and one that children are growing up on, with all seven books having been written. It’s part of the culture. It represents righteousness, nobility, love, so much beauty and a place of safety that people go to, and moral authority. If the ‘Harry Potter’ brand were to move something like fair trade, it would be making a statement that not only is the ‘Harry Potter’ brand a cut above the rest but that [other franchises] have to catch up to it.” Warner Bros. thanking the Harry Potter Alliance for “your partnership throughout our discussions on this important issue,” and Slack and Walk Free both emphasizing their praise for the company. Like Warner Bros., the Harry Potter Alliance wants to keep J.K. Rowling’s creation in good standing. And like the alliance, Walk Free has an interest in finding new ways to spread messages about social justice and inequality. “In some ways, the flexibility of what the Harry Potter Alliance is doing is very useful,” he [Henry Jenkins, a professor of communication, journalism, cinematic arts and education at the University of Southern California] suggested. “It can form new kinds of alliances, it can again evolve over time as the cultural references change.

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The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.