The Supreme Court in the US has requested the US government for advice on a case about child slavery on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire. Bloomberg reported that Nestlé SA’s US unit and Cargill are urging the court to end a lawsuit that accuses them of complicity in the use of forced child labour.
The Supreme Court has asked Solicitor General Noel Francisco to advise if the justices should hear the firms’ appeals. Bloomberg said the case would examine a centuries-old law, the 1789 Alien Tort Statute, which was a favourite tool of human rights activists before the Supreme Court started scaling it back.
The court ruled in 2013 the law generally does not apply beyond US borders, and in 2018 that foreign corporations can not be sued. “However, a federal appeals court said the allegations against Nestlé and Cargill could have enough of a US connection in the event the plaintiffs amended their lawsuit to provide more specifics,” Bloomberg said.
“The allegations paint a picture of overseas slave labour that defendants perpetuated from headquarters in the US,” the San Francisco-based appeals court stated. The case, filed by six former slaves who were kidnapped from their native Mali, was moving up and down the national court system since 2005.