Six former child slaves have filed a case in the United States against Nestlé, one of the largest chocolate producers in the world. Nestlé is accused of knowingly helping to perpetuate child slavery in the Ivory Coast. The complainants in the case were forced to work in the Ivory Coast on cocoa plantations that also supplied Nestlé. They were then between twelve and fourteen years old. During their imprisonment, the child slaves had to work more than 12 hours a day, without any compensation, for at least six days a week. They were whipped if they didn't work hard enough. At night the children were locked up in small huts where they had to sleep on the ground. Armed men prevented the children from escaping. One of the former child slaves in the case was caught in an escape attempt and tortured by the guards, resulting in permanent injury.
The case against Nestlé will be heard by the Supreme Court on December 1st. The central question is whether the Alien Tort Statute in the United States also applies to corporations, and to acts that did not take place on American soil. Prof. Göran Sluiter and Michiel Pestman have submitted an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court with a number of international lawyers, in support of the former child slaves.
For more information about this case and the Amicus Brief see: