Modern-Day Slavery: The Dark Side of Smartphones and Electric Cars
Cobalt is an important part of rechargeable batteries. It is in every smartphone, laptop, and electric car that we own. It is also a direct connection between most of the world and slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sadly, many workers in the DRC, including children, face dangerous conditions.
Siddharth Kara says the workers’ situation is modern-day slavery. Many of them work for just 1-2 dollars a day. While the miners can choose to work or not, not working often means dying of hunger.
Life in the cobalt mines is very dangerous. Hundreds of thousands of people breathe harmful cobalt dust every day as they dig by hand. Many workers have died and lost arms or legs during accidents.
Families have to make sad choices, such as not sending their children to school so they can make enough money for food.
With growing demand for rechargeable batteries, cobalt mining will double by 2030. The transition to electric vehicles is a good thing, but we can’t turn a blind eye to the people at the bottom of the supply chain.
1. We cannot turn a blind eye to the issue of child labor.
2. The manager turned a blind eye to employees arriving late.
3. The teacher turned a blind eye when students cheated on the test.
How ‘modern-day slavery’ in the Congo powers the rechargeable battery economy