Three Countries Accused of Using Child Labor in Diamond Mines
(September 14, '09, 11:01 Edahn Golan)

Alluvial mining at Koidu,
Sierra Leone
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), Liberia and Sierra Leone use child labor in their diamond activities, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Sierra Leone is also accused of using forced labor in its diamond industry. The three are just a few of the countries that are accused of using children to produce a long list of products that also includes gold, silver and gems.


These three countries are all diamond producing countries and do not have any meaningful manufacturing or diamond cutting operations. It is therefore understood that the child and forced labor is taking place in diamond mining in these countries.


The report also states that children are working in India’s gem industry and that child labor is heavily used in gold mining too. Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, DROC, Ecuador, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Niger, North Korea, Peru, Philippines, Senegal and Tanzania are listed in this connection.


In Burkina Faso, North Korea and Peru gold mining also includes forced labor.


Burma is accused of employing child and forced labor in its jade industry, while in Bolivia children are used in silver mining


The report, titled the List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor is one of three reports on child labor and/or forced labor published by Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).


It lists 122 goods from 58 countries that ILAB believes are produced by forced labor, child labor or both, in violation of international standards. The research is based on fifteen years of investigation, analysis and reporting on these issues.


The ILO estimates that 218 million children under the age of 18 work worldwide, 126 million of them in hazardous forms of work. Forced labor - people are working under the menace of penalty - covers all ages. They and include indentured labor.


The list of products includes agricultural goods such as cotton and tobacco, manufactured goods such as bricks and garments as well as mined or quarried goods such as diamonds and gold.


In addition, an unknown number of children are trapped in hidden and illicit forms of labor, such as drug trafficking, prostitution and pornography, which are not captured in these statistics. The ILO estimates there are 12.3 million persons – children and adults – trapped in forced labor around the world.