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14 Mar 2017

Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg (USA)

US judge dismisses lawsuit against Nestlé, Cargill & Archer Daniels Midland over alleged child slavery in Côte d'Ivoire

"Nestle, Cargill Win Dismissal of Ex-Child Slaves' Lawsuit", 10 Mar 2017

Nestle SA’s U.S. unit and Cargill Inc. won dismissal of a lawsuit by six former child slaves from Mali who sought to hold the cocoa importers liable for their captivity and mistreatment on farms in neighboring Ivory Coast.  A Los Angeles federal judge agreed with the companies that the former laborers couldn’t sue in the U.S. over wrongdoing that occurred in Africa and that the former child slaves had failed to show that any domestic conduct by the two companies was linked to the use of forced labor at their overseas suppliers...The former child slaves claimed U.S. cocoa importers knew forced labor was being used in the Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer.  The companies nevertheless provided farmers there with funding, supplies and training, they said...“This ruling is an important statement regarding the jurisdictional limits on these transnational tort lawsuits, which simply do not belong in the U.S. courts," Ted Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Nestle said...More than 1 million children, some as young as 5, pick cocoa pods and then crack them open in the Ivory Coast and perform other manual labor under sometimes hazardous conditions...