Nestlé, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland: child slavery in Cote D’Ivor case

As Facing Finance reported in January of this year ((, six former child slaves who had been trafficked from Mali to Cote D’Ivoire filed a suit against Nestlé, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, alleging they were forced to harvest cocoa.

After first filing their case against Nestle, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland in 2005, the former child slaves faced a protracted legal onslaught. As we reported in January, the Appeals Court rejected the companies’ arguments that corporations could not be sued under international law and that the former child slaves were required to prove that Nestle, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland specifically sought to use child slaves, not just knowingly benefited from child slavery, as the companies argued.

The case was then sent back to the trial court to determine whether the Plaintiffs could satisfy the new jurisdictional standard set by the Supreme Court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. that requires foreign plaintiffs suing under the Alien Tort Statute, a law dating to 1787 and allowing suits under the “law of nations,” to show that their case “touches and concerns” the United States. In particular, the complaint alleges that key decisions to facilitate child slavery were made by the corporations in the United States.

The outcomes of the second filing against the companies is yet to be decided.

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