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7 Nov 2018

Rosa Furneaux, Mother Jones (USA)

Commentary: Chocolate makers facing lawsuits over failure to effectively address use of child labour in cocoa supply chains

"Your Halloween Candy’s Hidden Ingredient: Child Slave Labor", 31 Oct 2018

...[A] recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit in a long-running lawsuit against Nestlé and...Cargill...alleges the companies aided and abetted child slavery on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast...The lawsuit is just one of several legal actions against chocolate giants in recent years involving human-rights abuses in West Africa...[T]hree American plaintiffs brought separate suits against Mars, Nestlé, and Hershey’s..., and argued that the companies were violating California consumer protection laws by failing to disclose that their products’ supply chain may involve child slave labor...[T]he Ninth Circuit upheld the Mars dismissal...The fates of the suits against Nestlé and Hershey’s are yet to be decided...

Nestlé, like most other large chocolate manufacturers, sources some of its beans from the Ivory Coast, making it difficult to remove the risk that their supply chain is infected with child labor...Nestlé...insists it is working to tackle the problem...According to Nestlé’s website, the company...has helped support families so they can afford to keep their kids in school rather than sending them off to work.  Nestlé also has put into place a monitoring system...and report the findings back to the company and its suppliers...The chocolate makers’ financial outlays to prevent child exploitation don’t necessarily reflect progress on the ground...