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Child Labor Coalition joins calls for cleaner, more responsible jewelry supply chain

Press Release
February 8, 2018

Contact: Reid Maki, Child Labor Coalition, (202) 207-2820, reidm@nclnet.org 

Washington, DC–The Child Labor Coalition (CLC) today joins nearly 30 NGOs and trade unions from around the world in calling on the jewelry industry to ensure responsible sourcing of precious metals and gems. One million children toil in mines, often extracting metals, including gold and silver, and gems like jade, emeralds, and diamonds. The work is extremely hazardous, putting children at risk of serious injury and death. Many child miners use toxic substances such as mercury that can cause severe damage to their developing neurological systems. Mining also causes profound ecological damage in many communities, polluting waterways and soil and endangering the health of communities.

“Consumers purchase nearly $300 billion in jewelry each year,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League (NCL) and co-chair of the CLC, whose 38 member organizations have worked to reduce child labor around the world for nearly three decades. “It’s time for jewelry companies to do more to provide consumers with jewelry that isn’t tainted with the scourges of child labor and forced labor. Existing mechanisms to clean up this supply chain have not gone far enough. It’s time for greater transparency. Jewelry companies must take responsibility for their supply chains.”

“The prevalence of child labor in the jewelry supply chains is a major concern,” said Reid Maki, NCL’s director of child labor advocacy and coordinator of the CLC. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, child labor is found in gold mining in 21 countries.

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Child Mining: 10 Facts (click on title if a numbered list does not appear)

boy staning in mine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. It is estimated that around 1 million children work in mines throughout the world.
  2. Mining is considered a form of hazardous labor unfit for children under any circumstances, including poverty. Mining can lead to serious injuries; health consequences and an unknown number of children lose their lives while mining every year.
  3. Around the world, children, ages 5-17, work in mines for as little as $2 per day.Because of the relatively small number of child miners (one million), compared to child laborers in agriculture (over 100 million), child mining has not received the attention it deserves. Additionally, mining often takes place in temporary, remote, small-scale locations making it difficult to regulate and monitor.
  4. Because of the relatively small number of child miners (one million), compared to child laborers in agriculture (over 100 million), child mining has not received the attention it deserves. Additionally, mining often takes place in temporary, remote, small-scale locations making it difficult to regulate and monitor.
  5. Children can be found working in mines in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and in parts of Europe.
  6. Work for child miners includes digging shafts, crushing rocks, and carrying ore in gold mines and digging, scraping and lifting in salt mines and carrying and crushing large stones in quarries.
  7. Child miners face many potential health consequences due to the nature of their work including: over-exertion , respiratory ailments, headaches, joint problems, hearing and vision loss.
  8. In addition to the risks faced by all child miners, children miners in gold also face potential side effects from working with Mercury.
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CLC Member Human Rights Watch Press Release: Tanzania — Hazardous Life of Child Gold Miners

For Immediate Release

Tanzania: Hazardous Life of Child Gold Miners
Government, World Bank, Donors Should Address Child Labor in Mines

 

(Dar Es Salaam, August 28, 2013) – Children as young as eight-years-old are working in Tanzanian small-scale gold mines, with grave risks to their health and even their lives, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Tanzanian government should curb child labor in small-scale mining, including at informal, unlicensed mines, and the World Bank and donor countries should support these efforts.

The 96-page report, “Toxic Toil: Child Labor and Mercury Exposure in Tanzania’s Small-Scale Gold Mines,” describes how thousands of children work in licensed and unlicensed small-scale gold mines in Tanzania, Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer. They dig and drill in deep, unstable pits, work underground for shifts of up to 24 hours, and transport and crush heavy bags of gold ore. Children risk injury from pit collapses and accidents with tools, as well as long-term health damage from exposure to mercury, breathing dust, and carrying heavy loads. A 17-year-old boy who survived a pit accident told Human Rights Watch, “I thought I was dead, I was so frightened.”

“Tanzanian boys and girls are lured to the gold mines in the hopes of a better life, but find themselves stuck in a dead-end cycle of danger and despair,” said Janine Morna, children’s rights research fellow at Human Rights Watch. “Tanzania and donors need to get these children out of the mines and into school or vocational training.”… Read the rest

USDOL to Fund $9 Million Project for Child Labor Remediation in Colombia’s Mining Sector

News Release

ILAB News Release: [05/20/2013]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Egan Reich
Phone Number: (202) 693-4679 or x4960
Email:
Della.Gloria.D@dol.gov or Reich.Egan.2@dol.gov
Release Number: 13-0972-NAT

$9 million in funding available from US Labor Department to reduce child labor in Colombia

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs today announced a $9 million competitive grant solicitation for one or more projects to reduce child labor in the artisanal mining sector of Colombia.

Thousands of children work in Colombia’s mining sector, where they labor alongside adults and are exposed to physical injuries, dangerous tools, hazardous substances, toxic gases and explosions. Many people are not aware that children face these hazards.

One or more qualifying organizations will receive funding to support Colombia’s efforts to identify and combat child labor in the mining sector, including by increasing educational opportunities for children and improving the livelihoods of families involved in artisanal mining. The project(s) will address occupational safety concerns to reduce the risk of injuries to adult miners and the corresponding loss of household income that can contribute to child labor. In addition, the project(s) will improve interagency coordination to provide social services to children engaged in mining and fund an exchange program with other countries to share strategies on activities covered by the grant(s).

Applications must be submitted by July 19 at 5 p.m. EDT electronically via http://www.grants.gov or as hard copies mailed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Procurement Services, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room S-4307, Washington, DC 20210, Attention: Brenda White.… Read the rest