Child Labor is at Large in the Congo


By Lauren Reiser, Staff Writer

Congo, Africa is a very large contributor in cobalt production, but this industry comes with a price: child labor. At the young age of ten, children of the Congo are being subjected to harmful fumes, digging trenches, and working extremely long hours mining for cobalt. Many of these children are forced to mine rather than going to school. This is so they can help their families pay for simple necessities such as food and water. It is no surprise that the Congo is in a state of poverty. It has been calculated that almost 40% of the mine workers are children and the coal they are mining has ended up in products produced by American companies including Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, and Samsung.

Many cobalt mining companies are ignorant to the obvious fact that children should not be working, especially in such dangerous conditions. Yet, kids as young as seven are forced to mine for cobalt daily, and thus inhaling clouds of red dust. Even with the UN creation of trade guidelines that stress that companies need to respect and follow the internationally accepted basic human rights, cobalt production companies still manage to care very little about the conditions and safety of their workers.

According to an UN study conducted by the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), over 80 child workers were killed by the unsafe conditions of the mines in Katanga, one of the eleven provinces of the DRC. It is likely that there were more unregistered deaths, not to mention all of the children who were orphans and would have no one looking for them if they went missing.

No matter everything the DRC has done to terminate child labor, children are still being unfairly subjected to mining, and it is time for the Congolese government and the mining production companies of the Congo to do everything in their power to end this abuse and mistreatment!

Sophomore Angela Reyzelman comments on the topic, “It is just cruel. Sadly, child labor is something many innocent kids must go through and it is very hard to stop it completely.” However, she agrees that the Congolese government must do everything in their power to put an end to child labor once and for all.