Updated – Slavery on Trial

Updated – Slavery on Trial

A room on Clubhouse was scheduled for July 28th with Special Guests Terry Collingsworth of International Rights Advocates and Ayn Riggs of SlaveFreeChocolate_org.

Listen to the Podcast

Topics Discussed in the Room

  1. What the recent Supreme Court decision means in practice;
  2. How the current International Rights Advocate suit under the TVPRA in the DC Circuit Court differs from the ATS suit;
  3. What the Customs Border Protection (CBP) petition is about;
  4. Other strategies and tactics – boycotts, petitions – in addition to legal challenges and their effectiveness; and
  5. What possible – and desirable – outcomes would be, should either suit result in a decision favorable to the plaintiffs in either case.
Are there other topics you’d like to see discussed in this room? Leave them in the Comments.

[Jul 28 11:30am EDT] – Clubhouse links have been removed because they expire when the room ends.

TVPRA Update – August 2nd

Nestle, Cargill, Mars, Hershey, Mondelez, Olam and Barry Callebaut Respond to New Cocoa Slavery Case With Blatant, Objectively Verifiable Lies!
Contact: Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director tc@iradvocates.org Twitter @tpcollingsworth

Link to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (PDF, 59 pages)


The defendants argue, in part, that the plaintiffs lack Article III standing, saying “the plaintiff’s alleged injuries are not fairly traceable to the defendants,” and there is no direct connection between the plaintiffs and the defendants or their alleged traffickers; nor are there any indirect connections.

There is more of the same in the memorandum to dismiss and it makes for interesting reading, though difficult treading at times if you’re not familiar with reading legal documents like these.

The arguments being made, IMO, are entirely technico-legal in nature, engaging the language of the complaint with respect to the provisions of the TVPRA, essentially dismissing out of hand the industry’s voluntary commitments under Harkin-Engel. For Reasons.

I get that lawyers are supposed to vigorously defend their clients. It is their responsibility to do so. However, I find the arguments presented on behalf of the defendants in this case – Barry Callebaut USA, Cargill Incorporated/Cargill Cocoa, The Hershey Company, Mars, Incorporated/Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC, Néstle USA, Inc., Mondelēz International, Inc., and Olam Americas, Inc. – not only morally bankrupt and indefensible they are reprehensible.

I have already made the conscious decision not to purchase any products from any of these companies where it is possible for me to readily identify their involvement – in any way – in the growing, manufacturing, or distribution of these products.

I am also going to take the extraordinary step of refusing to cover or review any new product introduction from any of these companies or their affiliates / brands.

The Recent SCOTUS Decision

Nestlé USA, Inc., Petitioner v. John Doe I, et al., 19-416 (U.S.)
Case docket for Nestlé USA, Inc., Petitioner v. John Doe I, et al., 19-416in Supreme Court of the United States, filed 09/27/2019.
The Docket of Filings (in reverse chronological order)
Nestlé & Cargill v. Doe Series: Meet the “John Does” – the Children Enslaved in Nestlé & Cargill’s Supply Chain
Terry Collingsworth, co-counsel in Nestle/Cargill v Doe, tells his clients’ stories. He writes that demand for cheap cocoa has created the child slave trade in cocoa production - and that corporate immunity maintains it.
Nestlé & Cargill vs John Doe
A ruling is expected before the end of the term in this long-running and highly consequential case.
Clubhouse Podcast featuring special guest Shawn Askinosie.
Docket for 19-416
The official docket (list of filings, etc) in the SCOTUS case.

OpEd About the SCOTUS Opinion

Justices scuttle lawsuit against Nestlé, Cargill for allegedly aiding child slavery abroad - SCOTUSblog
This article was updated on June 17 at 7:15 p.m. The Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a lawsuit alleging that two U.S.-based companies, Nestle and Cargill, facilitated human-rights abuses on cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast. By a vote of 8-1, the justices ruled that the lawsuit cannot go f

The CBP (Customs & Border Protection) Petition

Link to the petition filed by International Rights Advocates (PDF)

The TVPRA Suit in the DC Circuit Court

Link to the complaint filed by International Rights Advocates (PDF)

TVPRAWilliam Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (PDF) on uscis.org

About the TVPRA
Increase In Hazardous Child Labor In Cocoa Production Amid An Expansion Of Cocoa Farming In Cote D’ivoire And Ghana | NORC.org
CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2020 – A new report from NORC at the University of Chicago finds that children engaged in hazardous child labor in cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana cocoa growing regions increased by 13 percentage points over a 10-year period (from 2008-09 to 2018-19). The increase coinc…

Link to the NORC (National Opinion Research Center) Report (PDF) on norc.org

Organizational and General

International Rights Advocates
Together we can defeat giants.
Slave Free Chocolate
Help us eradicate child slavery in the cocoa industry.
Dream big Food Systems Summit – we want a label rating everything that matters
Consumers want to know this stuff. Was primary forest destroyed to produce this product? Were indigenous people dispossessed or even
One way being proposed to inform consumers about the “ethical footprint” of what they are buying.
GoodWeave International - Wikipedia
Four Bars Too Far?
Their new campaign has many people asking ... WTF were they thinking?
Taking a(nother Small) Bite Out of Tony’s
Tilting at Windmills? Part 2 in a multi-part series examining the fallout from Tony’s Sweet Solutions campaign.
Who Decides What’s Fair?
I took this image while visiting a coop in Perú in 2015. My name for it is “The Faceless Farmer” and it illustrates, for me, how cocoa farmers get lost in conversations about chocolate.
Have You Been Ponoed?
What attributes should consumers reasonably be able to expect to rely on in a “certification” program?

Featured Image: Original by Rod Long on Unsplash. (Edited in LuminarAI.)

Have a question you want to ask our special guests, or have some thoughts you would like shared during the Clubhouse room and with readers here on TheChocolateLife? Add them in the Comments below.
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