Nearly 40 percent of children in Burkina Faso between 5 and 14 years old, work and much of their labor is hazardous. Children can be found working in agriculture, tending livestock, and working in quarries and in mines, including gold mines.

Buried Childhoods — Child Labour in Mining and Quarrying

 

Jestoni* quit school at age 14 in order to take part in small-scale mining as a means to help support his family. They had abandoned farming for mining because of frequent flooding in their region of the Philippines. Jestoni’s mother worried about his safety as he dug in mineshafts for gold and carried heavy sacks of rock for eight to 12 hours per day.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than half (85 million) of the world’s 168 million child labourers perform hazardous work. Jestoni was one of the one million who work in mining.

The United States Department of Labor’s 2014 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor and Forced Labor indicates that child labour and forced labour is used to produce 29 products in the mining and quarrying sector. The top products in this sector, based on the number of countries using child labour in the production, include gold (18 countries[1]), coal (seven countries), and diamonds (six countries), but numerous other minerals, gems, and stones are also mined and quarried with the labour of children.

According to the ILOalmost all child miners work in artisanal, small-scale mining (ASM), beginning to help out as young as 4 and 5 years of age and working full time by the time they reach adolescence.[2] Artisanal mining is a low-technology industry where miners use their hands and rudimentary tools to extract minerals and raw materials,[3] with little protection from the inherent hazards of the work.… Read the rest

Burkina Faso: Texting to Help Domestic Workers

Ouagadougou — Naba Wangré, manager of the child labour project at the Burkina Faso Red Cross, sends bluntly worded text messages to government officials, employers, traditional leaders, teachers, business owners and housewives several times a year, trying to reduce the widespread exploitation of domestic workers by raising awareness of their rights.

“Employers: domestics have the same rights as your children. Stop under-paying them; stop subjecting them to mistreatment, sexual violence, and long hours”, said a recent SMS from Wangré, who uses lists of phone numbers provided by the local network. Read more