U.S. Chocolate Makers In Hot Water As They Are Embroiled In A New Child Labor Class Action Lawsuit
Major chocolate makers across the country are being accused of continuing to exploit African children in making their delicious sweet treats.
According to media reports, a class action lawsuit is filed against a handful of chocolate manufacturers, which include big names in the industry such as the Hershey Company, Nestle USA, Olam Americas, Inc., Cargill, Barry Callebaut USA, and Mars, contending that the companies have continued to knowingly make use of exploited underage labor in cocoa plantations under its nose for almost two decades.
The Chocolate Makers Child Labor Class Action Lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., with its collection of plaintiffs being represented by the Terrence Collingsworth of International Rights Advocates.
The plaintiffs in the case were alleged victims that were tricked into working in cocoa plantations that are affiliated with the companies mentioned above.
The official complaint narrates that the plaintiffs, along with their other colleagues, were asked to do harmful jobs in the cocoa plantations they were working in, performing tasks such as using sharp tools like machetes and activities that expose them to hazardous chemicals.
Documentary evidence was presented showing photographs of children working under these harsh conditions.
But why file the case in the United States (U.S.) instead of doing it in their home countries?
The legal representatives of the plaintiffs argue that corruption and the lack of a working reputable justice system hinder them from being given a fair trial back home.
Additionally, they argue that the USA has the proper standing to hear their cases, for it prides itself on being the world’s leading country and defender of human rights.
There are also laws in the country set up in order to make these chocolate manufacturing giants answer for their misdeeds from halfway around the world.
The U.S. Supreme Court is already deciding whether to hear such transborder human rights cases such as this Chocolate Makers Child Labor Class Action.
But it’s a whole different story over the country’s northern neighbor. As of press time, Canadian courts are already hearing cases filed by concerned consumers after they have argued that they have opted out of buying chocolate products being offered by these companies have they had prior knowledge of them using illegal child labor.
This latest class action lawsuit is filed even though the companies have already promised to stem the use of illegal minor labor on its Western African plantation partners in 2001.
They even have come to an agreement with one another a few years soon after.
However, according to the complaint’s official digest, the practice is still rampant in poor West African countries.
In fact, a study they have cited found out that more than 1.5 million young children were tricked and trafficked into forced labor-Esque conditions in cocoa plantations spread across the region.
Editor’s Note on US Chocolate Makers Child Labor Class Action Lawsuit Details:
This feature article is published to inform you of the latest class action lawsuit filed against chocolate makers in the United States after they were allegedly allowing forced child labor to continue to persist in West African cocoa plantations that they work with.
What are your thoughts on this piece? Please send us a message by clicking the ‘Contact Us’ button below. We’d love to hear back from you!
Similar Child Labor Class Action, Chipotle Fined $1.4 Million Over Child Labor Class Action.