HWH: It’s beginning to sound like these huge corporations Nestle and Cargill want amnesty from law suits alleging slavery of some of their employees outside the United States, claiming they can’t be held responsible for what slaveholders do in other countries.
Yes they can and should be held responsible.
TOO BIG TO SUE?
Not so fast. If you’re that big, then you have the resources to know what’s going on in your operations wherever they may be. Using as an excuse that this slavery is going on outside the country, which means U.S. laws don’t apply makes it sound like slavery is acceptable as long as it’s not within our borders.
But wait, if it’s a U.S. company in another country profiting from said slavery then yes, the U.S. laws need to apply. If the farms that grow the cocoa use slaves to do it, and the U.S. companies buy those cocoa beans, then they are complicit by encouraging the slave holders to continue to use slaves.
There is no deterrent and there needs to be one wherever U.S. companies profit in other countries. Don’t Nestle and Cargill pay these farm workers? Why not? All the money goes to the owner of the farms and the slaveholders? Put your foot down. Make better deals. It sounds like Nestle and Cargill are using slave labor and then turning around and selling their product at high prices.
The Supreme Court should not be allowed to determine who or why or under what circumstances an individual or company or group can sue anybody, any entity for any reason. That is blatant discrimination, that these two companies, and all the ones that will follow in their future footsteps, are asking the Supreme Court to allow under penalty of law. Once it’s allowed, and laws all have penalties if not followed, then slavery will not only be allowed, but not using slaves will go against the ruling.
The Supreme Court needs to stand firm against any U.S. entity using slave labor forces in other countries to provide ingredients or process to their products or participate in any way in the manufacturing of said products. Slave labor needs to be strongly and harshly condemned.
Being outside the U.S. should not be an excuse or reason to ignore the overseeing of your own operations outside the U.S. even if it’s a farm. These companies both have enough money to vet before making a deal with anybody, whom they want to bring in under their corporate tents.
It is your responsibility to know your product and the process and the people who make it at every step along the way to market.
People are not supposed to be for sale at that market.
You know in advance that growth is cumbersome, but growth leads to wealth, and wealth means you can afford to monitor that growth and all it entails. Otherwise get out of business.
If a U.S. based company employs people outside the U.S. they should apply the Laws of the U.S. in the treatment of those employees.
STOP HIRING SLAVES.
I do not believe they were unaware. If companies know so little about what’s going on in their assets in other countries, then they deserve the litigation that results from the charges against them.
Slavery cannot be allowed.
There needs to be continued investigations into the sellers of slaves and harsh penalties imposed against those companies that participate. Even if they didn’t know, they should have known and once they did know they should have sounded the alarm themselves, not wait for someone else to do it.
To think in this day that Africans think they can still sell people, when the world is burning from black issues not resolved, it throws a huge wrench into their ‘innocent’ claims regarding the sale of humans.
Both Nestle and Cargill need to pay more to the farmers and the workers so there will be no need for slaveholders.
Selling people in Africa. It doesn’t matter the color of the slaves or slaveholders or slave buyers. It’s wrong regardless. And it creates chaos in the world that is becoming increasingly more connected.
End it here, before it spreads like a contagion.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared wary of barring lawsuits against American companies over alleged human rights abuses abroad but signaled they could toss out a case accusing Cargill Inc and a Nestle SA subsidiary of knowingly helping to perpetuate slavery at Ivory Coast cocoa farms.
The two companies are asking the nine justices to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed the lawsuit, filed in 2005 on behalf of former child slaves from Mali who worked at the farms, to proceed.
The case concerns a 1789 U.S. law called the Alien Tort Statute that lets non-U.S. citizens seek damages in American courts in certain instances. The business community has long sought to limit corporate liability under this law.
Some justices questioned whether the lawsuit actually made clear that company officials knew that the farms involved used child slavery.
“After 15 years, is it too much to ask that you allege specifically that the defendants … who are before us here specifically knew that forced child labor was being used on the farms or farm cooperatives with which they did business?” conservative Justice Samuel Alito asked.
The court could toss out the lawsuit on those grounds but stop short of a ruling that would curb corporate liability altogether under the law, with some justices expressing reservations about taking that step.
Liberal Justice Elena Kagan, for example, asked what would happen if a group of slaveholders who could normally be sued individually formed a corporation in order to avoid liability.
“And now you are saying you can’t sue the corporation?” Kagan asked lawyer Neal Katyal, who argued the case for the companies.
Alito also appeared to share that concern, saying that Katyal’s arguments would “lead to results that are pretty hard to take” because they would shield U.S. corporations from liability for even the most egregious conduct.
The litigation targeted the U.S. subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle, the world’s biggest food producer, and commodities trader Cargill, one of the largest privately held U.S. companies.
The plaintiffs accused the companies of aiding and abetting human rights violations through their active involvement in purchasing Ivory Coast cocoa and turning a blind eye to the use of slave labor on the farms despite being aware of the practice in order to keep cocoa prices low.
A federal district court in Los Angeles dismissed the lawsuit twice, most recently in 2017. That court found that the claims were barred by recent Supreme Court decisions that made it harder for plaintiffs to sue corporations in U.S. courts for alleged violations overseas.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 revived the claims, citing the allegations that the companies provided “personal spending money” to local farmers to guarantee the cheapest source of cocoa. The 9th Circuit found that the payments were akin to kickbacks and that the low price of cocoa was dependent upon the child slave labor.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests backed the two companies in the case, as did President Donald Trump’s administration.
The Supreme Court in 2013 and 2018 cases curbed the ability of plaintiffs to sue corporations in U.S. courts under the Alien Tort Statute for overseas human rights violations. But the court did not definitively rule that companies can never be sued under that law.
Since the 2018 ruling – a 5-4 decision – the court has shifted further to the right with Trump’s appointment of conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
A ruling is due by the end of June.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)