Got Gold? Then You're Supporting Child Labor in Africa!

If you wear a gold ring on your finger, write with a gold-tipped fountain pen, or have gold in your portfolio, then chances are you're connected
to child labor in Africa.

Here's a disturbing article by Rukmini Callimachi and Bradley S. Kalpper of the Associated Press:

These hardscrabble miners include many thousands of children. They work long hours at often dangerous jobs in hundreds of primitive mines scattered through the West African bush. Some are as young as 4 years old. [...]

Wait - but surely you didn't buy any gold from Africa, right? Wrong.

Precisely which products contain child-mined gold, no one can say for sure. Unlike a diamond, gold does not keep its identity on its tortuous journey from mine to market. It passes through 10 or more hands. And when it is melted, usually several times, and mixed with gold from other sources, its address is effectively erased.

Jewelers and retailers that buy gold through UBS include Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA, the firm that makes Montblanc pens, Piaget's luxury watches and the jewelry of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Gold processed by Metalor has been used by these brands as well as in discount jewelry sold at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and luxury jewelry sold by Tiffany & Co.

These companies expressed concern about child labor and frustration that they can't certify their products are free of it. Because bush mines, where child labor is ubiquitous, supply a fifth of the world's gold, the companies realize their supply lines may well be compromised.


(Photo: Rukmini Callimachi / AP)

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Capitalist conditions, created and maintained by the capitalist class, cause and promote child labor. Period.

IMO: American is the biggest offender. You don't have to look any further than US farms to see examples of this situation right here and now.
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“Their parents must have had some say on what their kids are doing”

you cant possibly be that ignorant... not everyone in the world has the same luxuries as you do, not everyone has the chance to control their lives
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What a bullshit article - this is simple subsistence mining! It is a chosen economic activity throughout the lesser-developed areas of the world.

Stamp out the practice, and you send thousands of families into abject poverty and starvation, unless their family income can be supplemented by some other form of "child labour".

The on-site refining techniques using cyanide or (more usually) mercury presents significant health dangers to all participants, and many attempts to educate subsistence miners have had little effect.

Also, the lack of a "DNA" for gold is also complete bullshit - each local component of even highly refined .995 gold can be identified.
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I make my own clothes out of dog hair and hemp. I only eat locally-grown vegetables, and I live in a house made out of used popsicle sticks.
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do you buy shoes? or clothes in general? shop at wal-mart? then chances are, you're supporting child labor.

it's a sad fact but... welcome to the world as we know it.
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