Dem. Rep. of Congo: Report & video document sexual abuse & slavery, including child slavery connected to conflict minerals
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Author: Tracy Fehr, Enough, Free the Slaves [USA]
In eastern Congo today, the mines have become a source of not only conflict minerals, but also a source of human slavery. The mines of eastern Congo are run by multiple armed groups, many of whom have strategically attacked and raped civilians in order to gain control...Free the Slaves...released The Congo Report: Slavery in Conflict Minerals, which documents slavery in and around Congo’s mines...The report found several forms of slavery taking place, including the use of child soldiers, peonage, forced labor, sexual slavery, child slavery, and debt bondage. Some types of slavery are directly linked to the conflict such as the abduction of civilians for forced labor and sexual slavery, and others such as debt bondage and forced marriage are related to other factors including poverty and cultural norms. Child slavery is prominent among many of the armed groups and mining operations. As one NGO worker explained: “If you can’t afford to pay for workers, you’ll target children, who are most vulnerable and can be tempted into highly exploitative situations with the simple promise of a meal at the end of the day.” [includes video]
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Author: Free the Slaves [USA]
This report documents several types of slavery in Congo’s mines. Some forms of slavery are directly linked to the conflict, including the use of so-called “child soldiers” and the kidnapping of civilians for forced labor and sexual slavery by illegal armed groups and uncontrolled army units. Other forms of slavery are familiar around the world: debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery in the commercial sex trade, and child slavery that grows out of poverty and the lack of community-enforced norms respecting child rights...The necessary approaches include:...regulatory, consumer and investor pressure on companies to clean slavery out of their supply chains; and the strengthening of mining communities at the local level...[Recommendations to multinational companies and end users of Congo's minerals:] Continue efforts to introduce transparency into supply chains. Adopt due diligence policies...Create industry-wide support for rights-based community development efforts that will sustainably protect Congolese mining communities from slavery and other human rights abuses...