The Supreme Court in the US has asked the Trump administration 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 suit that accuses them of complicity in the use of forced child labour. The Supreme Court has asked Solicitor General Noel Francisco to advise whether the justices should hear the companies’ appeals.
Bloomberg said the case would test a centuries-old law, the 1789 Alien Tort Statute, that was a favourite tool of human rights activists before the Supreme Court started scaling it back. The court ruled in 2013 that the law generally doesn’t apply beyond US borders, and in 2018 that foreign corporations can’t be sued.
“However, a federal appeals court said the allegations against Nestlé and Cargill might have enough of a US connection if 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 said.
The case, filed by six former slaves who were kidnapped from their native Mali, has been moving up and down the federal court system since 2005.
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