All That Glitters…

Are Children Being Forced to Work So You Have Make-Up?

If you check the packaging of many cosmetic products you may see ‘Mica’ listed among many other ingredients.  This is the most common mineral used in mineral make-up, giving lip gloss, foundation, powder, eye-shadow and nail-polish its sleek shimmer.  What it doesn’t list in the ingredients is that children risk their lives to put this sparkle into western cosmetics.

Thousands of children as young as six are involved in the “illegal” collection of Mica from the soil before it is exported to major brands in the West.

Collecting Mica involves working in the mines of Jharkland and Bihar, India, which are often 3 to 4 kilometres deep into the jungle, where the pieces of Mica can be found within the mud on the ground.  Retrieving the particles involves repeatedly digging up mud, sieving it, setting aside anything valuable and moving onto the next bit.  Mica mining has multiple dangers and is sometimes fatal. Whilst scavenging in the rocky ground children risk snake and scorpion bites as well as being buried alive by collapsing slag piles whilst digging holes.  They regularly suffer from cuts, bruises and infections and the Mica dust can cause respiratory disease.  This forced child labour also means the children are being denied their right to an education.

A social movement called Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) which means ‘Save the Childhood Movement’ in Hindu runs schools in the area and the some children have been enrolled. However, due to the remoteness and political instability of the area, there is little help available from government or NGOs to tackle this and the BBA are one of few agencies working there.  Read more…
(picture and article from STOP THE TRAFFIK)

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