The world’s two largest food industries, Nestlé and Mondelez, are being prosecuted for the slavery of children in the cocoa and chocolate production chain. The action runs in the capital of the United States, Washington DC, and also involves the companies Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Olam and Hershey.

The lawsuit was filed by International Rights Advocates (IRA) on behalf of children who were forced to work on plantations in Côte d’Ivoire, a country that produces more than 40% of the cocoa traded in the world ….

The aforementioned multinationals are the main beneficiaries of exploration. It would be up to them, as controllers of the production chain, not to allow crimes in the links that link the cocoa farms to the final product, the chocolate sold in stores around the world.

The lawsuit against companies is unprecedented in this market. It may represent the breaking of an extensive protection and connivance network, which avoids criminal liability for multinationals involved in human rights violations.

A problem similar to that of Africa occurs in Brazil. Research conducted by this author, in partnership with the Public Ministry of Labor, identified six multinationals that exploit slave and child labor in cocoa production. The companies are: Nestlé, Mondelez, Garoto, Cargill, Barry Callebaut and Olam. Part of these companies has lawsuits filed by the Public Ministry of Labor.

Companies do not speak publicly about the matter. They limit themselves to informing that they follow the legislation and that they adopt corporate principles of social responsibility …

 

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