Here at Greg’s Corner we often talk about the human trafficking and slavery that is facilitated by less than scrupulous sites like Backpage. Unfortunately there is another form of slavery that most of us are supporting whether we realize it or not. Most gadgets that we are dependent on today like our phones, computers and tablets, have roots in overseas child labor. While a number of us are aware of the child labor in many assembling plants overseas did you know that there are around one million children who are working in dangerous mines for our gadgets? Many of the materials in our electronics such as gold and cobalt are mined by children across the globe. Even with the safety precautions that miners here in the US have it’s still one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Now imagine being a child down in some mine without such safety protections.
The conundrum is that as a society we can’t function anymore without these electronics. From basic communication to international business we’ve all become reliant on these devices. It’s almost impossible to function properly in our country without them. So what can be done about the abuses these children have to endure? For starters, Mashable has a great post about how you can help but I think the most important point they bring up is that we need to hold the electronics manufacturers to task for allowing their partners to engage in these practices. However, this would cut into the profits of many of these companies and too many of them would probably not be willing to do that but there is hope. According to the Mashable post…
“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,” Reid Maki, director of child labor advocacy and coordinator for the Child Labor Coalition says. “If there were enough evidence of consumer concern, the company would then be forced to take the lead on that.”
Think about dropping an e-mail to your tech’s manufacturers asking them about their child labor practices. These children deserve the same opportunities that the children in our country do. It’s the least we can do.