Child labour in the diamond industry
Child labour in the diamond industry
- Child labour is a widely reported and criticized issue in the diamond industry.
- Children work in diamond mines and polishing procedures in poor conditions.
- Child labour is prevalent in India and Africa.
- Children come in contact with minerals, oil, and machinery exhaust.
- Workers are often paid only a fraction of the value of the stones they cut.
- The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions claimed child labour was prospering in the diamond industry in Western India.
- Economic growth in Western India in the 1980s-90s led to an increase in child workers.
- Organizations such as Janine Roberts, The Anti-Slavery Society, and Survival International raise awareness about the issue.
- The United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
- The Indian NGO and Child Labour News Service (CLNS) work towards eradicating child labour.
- Child labourers constitute nearly 3% of the total workforce in the Indian diamond industry.
- In Surat, the percentage of child labourers in the diamond industry is as high as 25%.
- Some argue that employing child labourers in diamond factories is risky due to the potential loss or damage of high-cost diamonds.
- The South Gujarat Diamond Workers Association claims that child labour is less prevalent in the diamond industry compared to other sectors.
- A study conducted in 2005 showed a decrease in the use of child labour in India's diamond processing industry.
- During the civil war in Sierra Leone, children were used as combatants and child labourers in diamond mines.
- The police and army in Zimbabwe used brutal force to control access to the diamond fields and exploit unlicensed mining.
- Children in the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe work long hours with no pay.
- Angola, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are mentioned as countries with significant child labour and forced labour in the diamond industry.
- The U.S. Department of Labor listed these countries as having a high incidence of child labour and forced labour in the diamond industry.
- Child labourers in diamond mines are exposed to health risks and hazards such as malaria, dysentery, and cholera.
- Poor working conditions in diamond mines lead to overcrowding, abuse, and long work hours.
- Child labourers in diamond mines suffer from eye strain, headaches, malnutrition, and respiratory problems.
- Workers are paid based on the number of diamonds they can polish or cut per day.
- The diamond industry is known for hazardous work sites, open pits, and exposure to heavy minerals and machinery exhaust.
Exploitation and bonded child labor in the diamond industry
- Child workers are used as cheap labor in the diamond industry to raise more profit.
- The diamond industry is known for its exploitation of youth workers, similar to mines and sweatshops in South Africa or India.
- The diamond industry is overpriced and funded for wars.
- Many families in third world countries rely on their children's income to survive.
- Working at a sweatshop is often the only option for children who do not have access to education.
- Employers sometimes pay the family in advance and the child works to pay off the debt, known as bonding.
- Bonded children cannot pay off their family's debt due to interest, leading to a life of servitude.
- The debt increases over time, trapping bonded children and passing on the cycle of servitude to their descendants.
- Bonded child labor is a common practice in the diamond industry.
- Bonded children face exploitation and are unable to escape their circumstances.
Impact of civil wars on the diamond industry
- Civil wars disrupt diamond production and reduce the supply.
- Countries like Sierra Leone, which depend on diamonds for economic activity, face disruption in production and a thriving black market in conflict diamonds.
- Conflict diamonds drive down the price of diamonds produced in these countries.
- Civil wars financed by conflict diamonds lead to the loss of lives, including child workers.
- The diamond industry in conflict-affected countries suffers from instability and illegal trade.
Forceful relocation of indigenous Bushman people by De Beers
- Indigenous people, including children, are often forced to relocate to make way for diamond mining.
- In Botswana, the Bushman tribe has faced threats and persecution due to the interests of the mining company, De Beers.
- The Bushmen have been living in the land for tens of thousands of years.
- The government has cut off their water supplies, taxed them, fined them, and subjected them to violence to force them to leave the reserve.
- Several international supermodels have supported the campaign against the forced relocation of the Bushman tribe.
Working and living conditions in the diamond industry
Working conditions of miners and local people
- Long working hours in hazardous environments
- Lack of safety measures and protective equipment
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and dust
- Low wages and exploitation by mining companies
- High rates of injuries and fatalities in mining accidents
Living conditions of miners and local people
- Lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities
- Inadequate housing and overcrowded living conditions
- Limited healthcare services and high prevalence of diseases
- Insufficient education and limited opportunities for children
- Poverty and economic instability in mining communities
Gender issues in the diamond industry
- Gender inequality and discrimination against women
- Exploitation and sexual harassment of female workers
- Limited participation of women in decision-making processes
- Unequal pay and limited career advancement opportunities for women
- Disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on women
Child labor in the diamond industry
- High prevalence of child labor in diamond mining
- Exploitation and hazardous working conditions for child miners
- Denial of education and limited opportunities for child laborers
- Physical and psychological harm to child laborers
- Inadequate enforcement of child labor laws and regulations
Child labour in the diamond industry Data Sources