Jarring words could end up on candy bar wrappers, packages of frozen shrimp and even cans of cat food originating in Thailand if some California lawyers get their way.
“This item may be the product of slave labour.”
Forced labour permeates supply chains that stretch across the globe, from remote farms in Africa and the seas off Southeast Asia to supermarkets in America and Europe. Almost 21 million people are enslaved for profit worldwide, the UN says, providing $150 billion in illicit revenue every year.
Governments are pushing companies to better police suppliers, including proposed SEC reporting rules in the US But that’s not enough for a group of US law firms. They’ve sued name-brand companies doing business in California, like Hershey Co, Mars Inc, Nestle SA and Costco Wholesale Corp, hoping to use the state’s novel consumer protection laws to put the suffering of millions squarely in front of shoppers.