Children Labour in Toxic conditions

 Tanzania’s Gold Mines

Thousands of children, some as young as eight year old, are working in Tanzania’s gold mines reports the Huffington Post.  They dig and drill in deep, unstable pits, work underground for shifts of up to 24 hours, and transport and crush heavy bags of gold ore. Children risk injury from pit collapses and accidents with tools, as well as long-term health damage from exposure to mercury, breathing dust, and carrying heavy loads.  These children are also at serious risk of mercury poisoning.  Many of the children are orphans or other vulnerable children who lack the basic necessities.  Girls on and around mining sites face sexual harassment, including pressure to engage in sex work.

The employment of children in dangerous mining work is one of the worst forms of child labour under international agreements, to which Tanzania is a party.  A report recently released by Human Rights Watch – Toxic Toil: Child Labor and Mercury Exposure in Tanzania’s Small-Scale Gold Mines  – calls on the Tanzanian government to expand access to secondary school and vocational training and improve child protection.  Read more…

Download a copy of the Human Rights Watch Report here.

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