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United States Corporations Prosecuted in California over Claims of Child Labor
In July 2005, a particular human rights group went to a Los Angeles federal court to sue three U.S. corporations in a bid of stepping up the efforts of combating alleged child labor on Africa gardens supplying cocoa beans that are utilized in the manufacture of chocolate products. The countries sued by the International Labor Rights Fund were Archer Daniels, Nestle and Cargill. The labor movement claimed that the corporations were engaging in trafficking, forced labor, and torture of Mali children whom they had enslaved to be working on Cote de Voire farms. The issue emerged in the moments after European and U.S. cocoa and chocolate industry failed to beat the July 1st deadline, which had been imposed by the federal law intended for espousing protocols to eradicate employment of children from West African cocoa producing nations.
The labor movement accused the industry for acting slowly in agreeing to be paying its workers and farmers well from its huge profits. Surprisingly, the corporations representatives failed to lament on the case filed against them. The case allegations were that the children of Mali used to receive thorough beatings and were engaged in hard labor for about twelve to fourteen hours every day without payments and received little sleep and food. The three key plaintiffs alleged that the children were between 12 and 14 years during leaving their homes. Additionally, the plaintiffs claimed that the corporations aided, failed or abetted to curb the agony of arbitrary detention and forced labor that the children suffered as slaves.
Moreover, the plaintiffs alleged that the corporations economic gain from children abused the global labor conventions, the traditional international law and laws of states. The allegations were taken under the umbrella of the Alien Tort Claims Act, which at that moment was used by human rights movements to prosecute multinational companies for abuse of international law in nations outside the U.S. In a move to terminate the case, the defendants decided to file a motion. On July 27, 2006, further briefings were ordered by the court that could be filed on diverse issues associated to abetting and aiding standards. On September 8, 2010, the case was dismissed by the court after discovering that the case could not be considered under the umbrella of the Alien Tort Claims Act.
The conclusion of the court was that the prevailing authorities were incapable of demonstrating that company liability was adequately set up and collective to convince an allegation under roof of the Alien Tort Claims Act. The plaintiffs went to appeal the dismissal.
Child labor goes on to be a prevalent crisis and the flaw of national legislation implementation against child labor. Besides, there are other ways that can be used to combat child labor. As cited by Dubbink, Lierderkerke and Luijk, it is unethical to involve children in child labor and such children require immediate rehabilitation. Some organizations, in a bid to eliminate child labor, set up programs that exclusively target companies. For instance, International Labour Organization (ILO) functions on the idea that corporations possess a critical responsibility to play in fighting child labor. Thus, it stresses initially strict adherence to the state legislation on the subject. On the other hand, the United Nations charter on child labor puts forward that any working child under the age of fourteen years is regarded as laborer and is not accepted.
Thus, according to the case filed by the labor movement, it was unethical to employ children since they were all under the age of fourteen years. In addition, the employment hurt physical and intellectual development of children through underfeeding, inadequate sleep and beating. On the other hand, in a move to eradicate child labor, organizations should regulate themselves. As asserted by Mandal, some organizations possess the ethics of going beyond the motive of profit, thus such vices are hard to eliminate from the society. Therefore, the U.S. corporations ought to have restricted themselves from those acts.
In order to curb child labor, first, the victim countries should develop their economies in order to allow parents to cater for their childrens needs. Second, proper modern schools ought to be built in order to attract and hold more children (Mandal 136). Additionally, modern schools would produce all-round students who would contribute positively to the economic growth of their countries. Third, the government should initiate awareness campaign about child labor in order for all people to be aware involving in such heinous behavior. Fourth, the government should put forward the exact amount of work that a child should do, and the number of hours a child ought to work even in his or her home. The other alternative is that child labor unions should be empowered to improve the working childs working conditions.
Owing to the rising cases of child labor, stringent measures ought to be taken to eliminate the practice. First, the government should play the critical role of passing and implementing legislation to stop the spread of the vice. Second, parents should not allow their underage children to be employed anywhere. Also, governments should improve their economies and eliminate corruption in their countries for the betterment of their citizens. Moreover, necessary actions should be taken against corporations caught involving in child labor without fear or favor by the courts. All people should join hands in the fight against child labor. As such, when people come across corporations practicing child labor, they should report immediately to the relevant authorities.