US Supreme Court blocks child slavery lawsuit against chocolate firms

US Supreme Court blocks child slavery lawsuit against chocolate firms
It's estimated that 1.56m children work in the cocoa industry in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The US Supreme Court has ruled Nestlé USA and Cargill can not be sued for child slavery on African farms from where they buy their cocoa.

Six African men alleged that they were trafficked from the African country of Mali and forced to work on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast.

The group say both of the companies perpetuated that slave trade to keep cocoa prices low.

The US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the group had no standing because the abuse happened outside the US.

But it stopped short of a definitive ruling on whether the Alien Tort Act could be used to hold US companies to account for labour abuses committed in their supply chains abroad. The Alien Tort Act is an 18th century law.

About 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced in several West African countries, and much of this is exported to America.

It’s estimated that 1.56m children work on cocoa farms in Ghana and Ivory Coast, according to a report published by the US Department of Labor last year.

The group of men alleged in their lawsuit that they were forced to work on the cocoa farms for 12-14 hours a day. They also said they were kept under armed guard while they slept, in order to prevent them from escaping, and were paid little beyond basic food.

While decrying child slavery, Nestlé USA and Cargill argued the case should instead be made against the traffickers and the farmers who kept them in such conditions.

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