The world’s largest food and water producer will be sued for allegations that it used child slaves to harvest cocoa beads in the Ivory Coast in Africa.

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Nestle continues to show us again and again why they are one of the most hated companies in the world – after taking money from a drought-suffering California, Nestle will likely be held accountable for using child laborers for its chocolate products. The US Supreme Court has rejected the appeal from Nestle to dismiss the lawsuit.

Abby McGill, campaign director from the International Labour Rights Forum, which filed the initial lawsuit declared:

“We have fought for a long time to bring accountability to supply chains and to bring redress for the victims.”

According to data from McGill, the average cocoa farmer has six children and survives on a real income of 40 cents  per day – way below the global poverty line. It’s not the first time the Swiss company has been linked with this type of abuse. The 2010 documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate brought attention to purchases of cocoa beans from Ivorian plantations that use child slave labor. All in all, it’s estimated that 1.8 million children in West Africa are involved in growing cocoa. Patti Rundall, policy director at campaign group at International Baby Food Action Network, has challenged Nestle’s practices for over 30 years:

“Every time you eat their chocolate you are benefitting from child slavery,” she said. “There is very little cocoa production that isn’t sourced in a bad way and it will take a long time to change that due to the nature of large corporations.“

This is a good reminder that we can all play our part. The Harkin–Engel Protocol, an international agreement aimed at ending the worst forms of child labor and forced labor is constantly being breached so we should pay attention where we buy our chocolate from.

 

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