No matter which way you slice it or no matter how much you consider yourself a virtuous or believer in the rule of law and justice if you live in the United States and use almost any kind of tech product the reality is that you are participating in an industry that exploits the use of child labor and slave labor like conditions to mine to precious materials that enable your product to work. Even the most food justice hipster vegan who has a raised bed garden, if you are using your macbook to post your outrage of the injustice in the world, you are a hypocrite. The device you’re using to read this story has roots in child labor and its something the Tech Industry needs to take action about and address if they are going to step up to the plate and their false sense of morally upstanding. “These Children are suffering life long problems that are just astounding. And it has to stop. “there is gold inside your phone. There is cobalt inside the lithium battery. There’s colt an that used in the miniature circuitry in your phone. These are minerals that are being mined in areas where law enforcement and government oversight is very weak. and what you find is that a lot of children end up going to work in these regions.” A startling reality is that children usually work in mines because they’re small, and able to squeeze into tiny tunnels to harvest minerals. This is extremely dangerous work due to the unsafe conditions like tunnel collapse and toxic chemicals in the air.
“its not just that its children labor and that these are missing school and they are missing childhoods. These children labor advocacy and coordinators for child labor coalition. These are suffering life long neurological damage and health problems that are just astounding and it has to stop.”
So this seems all very overwhelming but there are things you can do to become an informed consumer and if this problem ever has a chance of being reversed wide action has to be undertaken. One way is look up what your favorite tech companies are doing and demand transparency if they are not. “if even half the people who own smartphones spoke up and said, ‘you know I’m really worried about these kids mining these minerals in my cellphone, ‘ I really think that would get companies attention. If there were enough evidence of consumers concern the company would then be forced to take the lead on that.”
Another thing you can do is to donate to organizations that are aimed towards working to end child labor. This again like anything requires that you do your research and make sure you are giving to the right ones, but they are out there and they really do make a difference. There is going to be a huge. and really we need to see that this problem is so much larger than tech. The U.S. department of Labor leis identified 136 products from 74 countries that are made by forced child labor.