“Cocoa for chocolates is collected by child slaves” is the statement made by eight Malian citizens who have appealed to the court through human rights activists. Nestle, Mars, and Cargill will have to answer for their alleged use of child labor.
Bloomberg reported on a federal class-action lawsuit filed by human rights group International Rights Advocates (IRA) against Nestle, Mars, and Cargill. The document alleges the likely use of child labor and complicity in human trafficking.
These companies “continue to profit from the sale of cheap cocoa harvested by child slaves,” the lawsuit claims. Eight Malian citizens, it notes, were sold into slavery as children. They toiled on cocoa plantations in Côte d’Ivoire. The law cited by the lawyers allows victims of the slave trade to sue their “owners.”
Mars declined to comment that the cocoa for the chocolates is harvested by child slaves. Nestle said it has long openly opposed child labor. The lawsuit, which was initiated by the IRA, “does not further the overall goal,” which is to eradicate the practice of employing children in cocoa production.