smartphone and child labor

Apple, Microsoft, Samsung Accused of Child Labor by Amnesty

The report states that kids in Democratic Republic of Congo are working day in and day out to gather cobalt, which is used to create lithium batteries for different devices.

Amnesty Human Rights organization has come out with a new report in which it claims that children as young as seven years old are working in dangerous conditions for $2 just to gather cobalt, which is used to create lithium batteries for 16 corporations, including tech giants like Microsoft, Sony, Apple, and Samsung.

The said children are reported to be working in mines of Democratic Republic of Congo. The mines they are asked to work in are in a pretty bad condition and can fall at any time. Furthermore, there is a breathing problem in these mines which affects the health of children working there.

The report quoted a 14-year old boy named Paul who said that he has to work underground for such a long time that he has to relieve himself down in the tunnels. He continued to say that the children down in the mines spend over 24 hours underground without seeing the light of day.

Most of the companies implicated of child labor in this report have come up with a response. Samsung has this to say on the matter.

“In reality, it is very hard to trace the source of the mineral due to the suppliers’ nondisclosure of information and the complexity of the supply chains. Therefore, it is impossible for us to determine whether the cobalt supplied to Samsung SDI comes from DRC Kataanga’s mines.”

Microsoft responded by saying:

“We have not traced the cobalt used in Microsoft products through our supply chain to the smelter level due to the complexity and resources required.”

Finally, Japanese giant Sony commented on the situation:

“We are working with the suppliers to address issues related to human rights and labor conditions at the production sites, as well as in the procurement of minerals and other raw materials.”

Democratic Republic of Congo is responsible for more than 50% of world’s cobalt and according to the report, there is still $24 trillion of untapped materials available in the country, so it doesn’t look like child labor is going to stop or slow down anytime soon.


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