In the News

US food companies sued over forced child labor

Datamonitor NewsWire

Human rights group the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) has sued three US

companies on behalf of former child workers. The suits were filed against

companies Nestle, Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland in an effort to force the

companies to increase efforts to end child labor on African farms, according to

press reports.

The farms under scrutiny supply cocoa beans used in making chocolate products.

According to a report by the Reuters news agency, the ILRF claims that the

Sorry, Charlie: Johnny Depp's Not Much of a Treat In Tim Burton's 'Chocolate Factory'

Washington Post

By Ann Hornaday

What will Johnny do?

That has been the question on filmgoers' minds since it was announced, just

after Johnny Depp's triumphant channeling of Keith Richards in "Pirates of

the Caribbean," that he would next play Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's "Charlie

and the Chocolate Factory." Would Depp channel Michael Jackson this time? Or

the role's 1971 originator, Gene Wilder? Or would he surprise the oddsmakers

with something completely, characteristically out there?

Child labour feeds chocolate trade

The Toronto Star

Cocoa plantations still employ kids



OUME, Ivory Coast—The message has travelled down red earth roads to tropical forests where green, fist-size cocoa pods hang from lush trees: Stop child labour on cocoa plantations, or the world may stop buying your cocoa.

But four years after the chocolate industry, under pressure from U.S. lawmakers, agreed to create standards to stamp out the worst practices, many children still labour to help produce 70 per cent of the world's raw material for chocolate.

Fired Officer Is Suing Wal-Mart

The New York Times


A former Wal-Mart executive responsible for inspecting apparel factories in Central America has sued the company, accusing it of firing him for being too aggressive about finding workplace violations, like locked exits and mandatory 24-hour shifts.

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Rollin A. Riggs for The New York Times

James Lynn sued Wal-Mart, contending he was fired for reporting labor abuses in factories abroad.

Report Criticizes Labor Standards in Central America

New York Times


BOGOTÁ, Colombia, June 30 - As the White House lobbied Congress to win support for a Central American trade pact, the United States Labor Department tried for more than a year to block the release of reports that harshly criticized labor standards in the region.

The reports, by a labor advocacy group, the International Labor Rights Fund, were commissioned by the Labor Department, and concluded that working conditions in five Central American nations and the Dominican Republic were dismal, and that enforcement of labor laws was weak.

Sweatshop Labour in Hip-Hop Apparel

Word Magazine

By Jonathan Cunningham


Many urban consumers are secretly proud that hip-hop fashion and apparel has become a multi-billion dollar industry sprawling across most continents. The trendy designs, which have morphed from the awkwardness of Coogi in the early 1990’s to the chic urban couture of Sean John and Akademiks, have become accepted as “business attire” nowadays within certain offices and professions.

Senate Approves CAFTA

The Frontrunner

The US Senate last night approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) by a 54-45 margin. The vote is being described this morning as a significant win for President Bush, though the treaty still faces an uncertain fate in the House.

Administration blocked release of reports on Central America trade agreement

KESQ Channel 3

WASHINGTON Internal Bush Administration documents show the Labor Department kept secret government studies that support Democratic opponents of the White House's new Central American trade deal.

The administration and some members of Congress want to eliminate trade barriers with Central America. They say that would open new markets for U-S farmers and manufacturers.

However, critics argue the agreement would allow serious labor violations to continue in Central America.