Once you find out, you’ll never look at a candy bar the same way again. Over 70% of the labour in cacao bean production comes from children as young as six working slave-like conditions in West Africa. A new class-action lawsuit in California is trying a new strategy: the plaintiffs are suing mega-chocolate producers Nestlé, Mars and Hershey for false advertising.
The industry has been aware of these atrocious conditions in its supply lines for 15 years — and has done next to nothing to stop it. Meanwhile, these three chocolate corporations have painted themselves as defenders of human rights with “false assurances” and platitudes.
Stopping the oppressive labour camps in the Ivory Coast and Mali has proved frustrating — but this case uses California consumer law to hit Nestlé and its competitors where it hurts them the most — the bottom line. Luckily for Nestlé there’s an easy fix: stop using cacao beans picked by child slaves.
Nestlé, stop profiting from child slavery. Clean up your supply lines now.
Nestlé dominates the cocoa trade in the Ivory Coast, where 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from. More than 4,000 children are forced to work in these plantations according to a study cited in the class action. Children are sold to traffickers, tricked into thinking the job is legitimate or simply kidnapped. The children are held captive, locked away at night, abused and forced to work long hours even when they are sick, according to the complaints.
Nestlé calls the lawsuit “without merit” while claiming it is doing everything it can to stop child labour in its supply chains. Nestlé: tolerating child slavery even in the slightest is completely indefensible. You shouldn’t sell a single candy bar that was made with a cacao bean picked by a child.
We’ve waited long enough, Nestlé. Stop using child slaves to pick your cacao.
Corporate addiction to cheap cocoa beans won’t stop unless we end it. Together, we helped shine the spotlight on slave trade in the Thai prawn industry and forced corporations like Walmart and Costco to take action. This class-action lawsuit offers a huge opportunity to put pressure on Nestlé and other chocolate manufacturers to stop child slavery in the cocoa farming industry once and for all.
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