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2 Sep 2015

Joe Sandler Clarke, The Guardian

Child labour on Nestlé farms: chocolate giant's problems continue

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A new report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), commissioned by Nestlé, saw researchers visit 260 farms used by the company in Ivory Coast from September to December 2014. The researchers found 56 workers under the age of 18, of which 27 were under 15. At one farm in the Divo district of the country, the FLA found evidence of forced labour, with a young worker not receiving any salary for a year’s work at a farm...Researchers from the FLA, which was commissioned by Nestlé to investigate workers rights on its west African farms in 2013 amid international pressure, found child workers at 7% of the farms visited. Nestlé’s code of conduct prohibits the use of child labour in its supply chain...A total of 24 children were found working on farms as “family workers”, unable to attend school...On farms employing children they were expected to work in hazardous conditions and carry out dangerous tasks, including using machetes and transporting heavy loads...human rights lawyer Terry Collingsworth filed a lawsuit against the company and Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, alleging that the companies gave substantial assistance to plantation owners who used forced child labour...Commenting on the FLA’s findings, Collingsworth said the report challenged corporate assurances that chocolate manufacturers were dealing with the problem of child labour...Nestlé has repeatedly stated its commitment to tackling child labour in its supply chain, and has already taken action to address the issues raised in the FLA report. These actions include increasing access to education, stepping up systems of age verification at farms...