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There's a big problem in the chocolate industry that many of the big manufacturers don't want anybody to know about: A large chunk of the world's chocolate is farmed by child slaves (and child labor) in Africa's Ivory Coast.
Yes. Child slaves and child labor. It is heartbreaking to read or hear about. The problem goes deep and is both systemic and institutionalized.
And the Ninth Circuit just reversed a Central District of California dismissal in a case brought under the Alien Tort Statute by former child slaves against Nestle and other chocolate producers for aiding and abetting slavery.
The case is brought on by four former child-slaves who allege that Nestle's U.S. corporation had sufficient knowledge and contact with the farmers to be implicated in the human rights violation in a U.S. court. The case seems to thread the needle left open by the recent SCOTUS decision in the Arab Bank case, which limits the rights of non-citizens to relief only against domestic companies.
The companies issued statements in response to the decision re-affirming that the companies do not tolerate child slave labor, and naturally, that the companies were considering an appeal.
As it stands, there still has not been a decision on the merits, and that might be some ways off, and settlement may eventually prevent a trial or even consideration on the merits.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.