On World Day Against Child Labor, Nestlé and Cargill Using Enslaved Children to Harvest Cocoa
They have repeatedly admitted that child labor is persistent in their supply chains
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
International Rights Advocates
WASHINGTON, DC ─ JUNE 12, 2021 ─ A century and a half after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, multinational giants in the United States today still control plantations where children are being enslaved to make our chocolate. People continue to march to rid our society of the pervasive vestiges of slavery, yet on The World Day Against Child Labor, 1.56 million children (Department of Labor estimate) from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, still produce nearly 60% of the world’s cocoa each year as a result of forced labor.
All large cocoa companies, including Mars, Hershey, Mondelēz, Olam and Barry Callebaut, like Nestlé and Cargill, have repeatedly admitted that child labor is persistent in their cocoa supply chains. Since 2001, when they signed the failed “Harkin-Engle Protocol,” they have promised to end their use of child slaves but have failed to do so even after extending the agreed upon deadline three times.
In 2005, International Rights Advocates sued Nestlé and Cargill on behalf of children trafficked from Mali to harvest cocoa for those, and other companies in Côte d’Ivoire. Over the last 15 years, the case has been tied up in the court system, allowing the companies to keep what they see as benefiting from child slavery while their army of lawyers prolong the delay. Nestlé and Cargill asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case and the Court granted review. International Rights Advocates then argued the case on December 1, 2020 before the Supreme Court (Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe I and Cargill Inc. Doe I)
Nestlé and Cargill told the Court that corporations cannot be liable under international law for any human rights crimes, including aiding and abetting child slavery. They added that corporations are immune from international law so they cannot be liable for their admitted use of child labor under horrible conditions. A decision from the Supreme Court will be issued by June 30, 2021.
Whatever the Supreme Court decides on this issue, International Rights advocates will continue to urge Nestlé and Cargill to stop using child slaves until our legal framework fully divorces itself from this grave crime.
About International Rights Advocates
Our vision is a world free of slave labor, where those who have experienced human rights abuses in global supply chains have access to justice. To achieve this, IRAdvocates works globally - from Southeast Asia and West Africa to South America - addressing a wide range of human rights issues through coalition building, policy and advocacy, strategic litigation, training and research. Learn more about us here. To learn more about the common questions and answers on this issue, visit our viral Reddit AMA.
Remind Nestlé and Cargill that slavery was outlawed in 1865
• Cargill - @Cargill (Messages can be directed to Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan and General Counsel Anna Richo)
• Nestlé - @Nestlé (Can be directed to Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider and Nestlé Executive VP Laurent Freixe) and @Nestlé USA (Can be directed to Nestlé USA CEO Steve Presley and Nestlé USA VP Molly Fogarty)
• Suggested messages – “ .@________, slavery ended in 1865. Stop using child slaves to make our chocolate. #nochildlabourday #WorldDayAgainstChildLabour” or “ .@____ 1.5 million children in West Africa are forced to work for companies like you in slave-like conditions. I will not buy your products until you stop profiting from slavery. #nochildlabourday #WorldDayAgainstChildLabour #peoplepower