Former child slaves of Malian origin who were trafficked and forced to work harvesting and/or cultivating cocoa beans on farms in Côte d’Ivoire, which supply cocoa beans to the Defendant companies, filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated former child slaves of Malian origin against Defendants: Nestlé, S.A., Nestlé, U.S.A., and Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire, S.A.; Cargill, Incorporated Cargill Cocoa, and Cargill West Africa, S.A. and Archer Daniels Midland Company for the forced labor and torture they suffered as a result of the wrongful conduct either caused and/or aided and abetted by these corporate entities. Plaintiffs assert claims for child slavery/forced labor, cruel, inhumane or degrqading treatment, and torture under the ATS.
On March 10, 2017, Judge Wilson issued an Order granting defendants' motion to dismiss.
"Judge Wilson's decision, which states that business conduct such as the provision of unrestricted funds to those committing slavery cannot be illegal, directly contradicts not only international law but also the Ninth Circuit's prior decision in this case. The Ninth Circuit has made clear that knowingly contributing to the enslavement of others for profit is an international crime whether committed by individuals or corporations."
IRA will appeal.
Six men forced into slavery as boys to harvest cocoa pods have a second chance to go after some of the world's biggest chocolate companies in U.S. court, saying the companies should have known their suppliers used forced labor.
Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director of International Rights Advocates and lawyer representing six alleged child slaves working in cocoa in a class action against Nestlé, ADM and Cargill says the ramifications of the case on the chocolate industry could be huge.
Company's corporate affairs manager writes in response to NOW article that "child labour in our cocoa supply chain is a complex issue"
On November 7, 2016, International Rights Advocates together with lead co-counsel filed their Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motions to Dismiss in the Nestle case arguing plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that all three of the corporate Defendants in the Nestle case aided and abetted slavery and forced labor in Côte d’Ivoire.
"It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In the Ivory Coast alone, there are an estimated 200,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed around the world." - CNN, January 16, 2012
"For a decade and a half, the big chocolate makers have promised to end child labor in their industry — and have spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort. But as of the latest estimate, 2.1 million West African children still do the dangerous and physically taxing work of harvesting cocoa. What will it take to fix the problem?" - Brian O'Keefe, Fortune, March 1, 2016
Press Release in John Doe I, et al. v. Nestle USA, Inc., et al.
Contact: Paul Hoffman, Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP
Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director, International Rights Advocates firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-543-5811/202-255-2198
Catherine Sweetser, Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP
Following the Ninth Circuit's decision in Doe v. Nestle, International Rights Advocates is now making plans to get back to Cote D’Ivoire to continue our investigation and meet with additional children who have been forced to harvest cocoa for the many multinational companies who continue to profit from child slavery.