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Slave Children Used by Major Corporations to Make Chocolate

Published: June 18, 2014
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Source: Jason Louv, UltraCulture

Lawsuit alleging that Nestlé, ADM and Cargill benefit from child slavery in their cocoa supply chain in back in court, throwing new light on decades-old concern that the chocolate industry is built on the backs of slave children

Swiss multinational Nestlé, the largest food company on the planet—and anybody who consumes their products—has a chocolate problem.

More specifically, they have a child slavery problem.

Since the late 1990s, allegations have continually surfaced that the company benefits from slave children in its supply chain, and that slave children are used in its cocoa production in West Africa.

The allegations—including reports from UNICEF and the US State Department—brought enough attention and heat, including coverage from the BBC, that Nestlé’s CEO Bradley Alford signed an international agreement to end cocoa child labor in 2001, but by 2005 had not met the agreement’s deadline for eliminating the worst child labor offenses from the company’s supply chain.

In the same year, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a class-action lawsuit on the behalf of three children from Mali who claimed that between 1994 and 2000 they had been lured into Côte d’Ivoire by child traffickers promising them easy work for good pay, subsequently enslaved on a cocoa plantation and regularly beaten. The lawsuit was later amended to name three companies as complicit in the chocolate-production slave trade: Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Nestlé itself.

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