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Chocolate Multinationals 'Enabling Enslavement' on Cocoa Farms: Oxfam

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Multinational chocolate companies are reaping billions in profits by keeping labor costs low, allowing human rights abuses to prosper on cocoa farms, according to an Oxfam Campaigner.

Earlier this month, a US appeal court ruled that Nestle, ADM and Cargill could be held to account for aiding and abetting child slavory in Cote D'lvoire and allowed a US lawsuit to proceed.

The case brought by three Malian men who were allegedly trafficked as children to Cote D'lvoire in the 1990s and forced to work unpaid on cocoa farms for 14 hours a day.

'Enabling enslavement'

"Though Nestle made strong commitments to reduce child labor in their cocoa supply chains in 2012, multi-national companies and traders have reaped billions in profits from keeping labor costs low. Meanwhile, children such as the plaintiffs in the john Doe case, toil in the feilds to harvest the key ingredient in our favorite chocolate bars," said Irit Tamir, senior campaigns and advocacy advisor for Oxfam America, in a blog post titled: "You're enabling enslavement".

Nestle previously told this site that it follows and respects international law and it does not tolerate illegal or discriminatory labor practices. Cargill has said they are confident it will eventually prevail in the John Doe case, while ADM has disputed the latest court ruling and called for an 'en banc' session, whereby the case would be heard before judges the court.   
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