Eight children have filed a legal action against Hershey, Mars, and Nestle — three of world’s biggest chocolate companies — claiming the companies aided and abetted the illegal enslavement of “thousands of children” on cocoa farms and their supply chains.
Human rights firm International Rights Advocates (IRA) on behalf of the eight children has filed complaints against Nestlé, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Olam, Hershey and Mondelēz.
The children were allegedly forced to work without any pay and endure inhumane conditions in the West African country.
Cargill said they were aware about the complaints, however, they cannot comment regarding the “specifics” as of the moment.
“We are aware of the filing and while we cannot comment on specifics of this case right now, [the company wants] to reinforce we have no tolerance for child labor in cocoa production. Children belong in school. They deserve safe living conditions and access to good nutrition,” Cargill said in a statement.
Also, Nestle said in a statement that it has explicit policies on child labor and remained committed in battling child labor within the cocoa supply chain.
“Child labor is unacceptable and goes against everything we stand for. Nestlé has explicit policies against it and is unwavering in our dedication to ending it. We remain committed to combatting child labor within the cocoa supply chain and addressing its root causes as part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and through collaborative efforts,” Nestlé said.
As of now, Mars and Hershey have refused to comment on the lawsuit.
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