A 2005 ILO-IPEC study found that 20 percent of children aged 5 to 9 years and 50 percent of children aged 10 to 14 years worked in Madagascar. Children work on farms and care for livestock, and are also engaged in fishing, mining, and quarrying, as well as in salt production. Children also work as domestic servants and in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Ending Child Labor in Mica Mines in India and Madagascar

By Katarzyna Rybarczyk 

Most people use products containing mica daily, without realizing what the story behind their production is. Mica is a mineral commonly found in products such as cosmetics, paints, and electronics. For most people living in the West, mica is simply something that makes these products shiny. However, extracting mica is often linked to the worst forms of child labor.

India and Madagascar are the two largest exporters of sheet mica globally, with most mica mining happening in illegal mines. The two countries are also the most associated with using children to extract the mineral.

Areas where mica mines are located struggle with high poverty rates, so mining mica is often the only thing that lets families put food on the table and survive. With families struggling to earn a living, children often have to supplement their parents’ income.

As mica mining is unregulated and, for the most part, thrives in hiding, there are many dangers associated with it.

The scale of the problem

The majority of illegal mica mines in India are located in just two states Bihar and Jharkhand, which are among India’s most impoverished. The governance there is weak, so the industry is subject to few, if any, regulations and labor exploitation of both adults and children occurs frequently.

It is estimated that 22,000 children work in mica mines in Jharkhand and Bihar, but as mines that employ children do not report it, giving the exact numbers is impossible.

According to the findings of the US Department of Labor, in Madagascar, around 10,000 children work in the mica sector.… Read the rest

A dozen nations added to U.S. Government child, forced labor list (AP)


WASHINGTON — The Labor Department is adding a dozen countries to the list of nations that use child labor or forced labor, as officials warn the global economic crisis could cause an upswing in the exploitation of children and other workers.

From coffee grown in El Salvador to sapphires mined in Madagascar, the agency’s latest reports, to be released Wednesday, identify 128 goods from 70 countries where child labor, forced labor or both are used in violation of international standards.

“Shining light on these problems is a first step toward motivating governments, the private sector and concerned citizens to take action to end these intolerable abuses that have no place in our modern world,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

New to the list are Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Bitter plight of the vanilla trade children

From The Sunday Times

March 14, 2010

Bitter plight of the vanilla trade children

Dan McDougall in the Vanilla Coast, Madagascar

 The pods used in ice cream made by some of the world’s best-known brands is produced with the help of children working on plantations in remote regions of Madagascar

NOARY’S fingers are stained a thin, luminous yellow by the sweetest spice of all. Close to exhaustion, his tiny body is pouring with tropical sweat.

At eight years old, he has been tending the vanilla orchids since before first light after walking to work, barefoot and in darkness, alongside his brother, Ando, just a year older.

Here, in the remote Sava region of Madagascar, tens of thousands of children are being forced into the trade in black vanilla pods that sell for up to £4 each in British supermarkets.

Such is the dire state of the small farms in northern Madagascar, the vanilla capital of the world, that children are increasingly involved in production of the pods, a key ingredient of some of the world’s most famous ice cream brands.

Vanilla from the island, off the southeast coast of Africa, flavours everything from Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s to Marks & Spencer desserts and numerous items on the shelves of supermarkets.

In an impoverished settlement near Sambava, the district capital on the Vanilla Coast of northeastern Madagascar, small growers sell their pods to the Société Vanille de Sambava, a consortium that supplies big exporters through auctions held twice a year.

“We work for six to seven hours a day from dawn,” Noary said at his tiny family plantation in Anjombalava, 12 miles to the south of the city.… Read the rest