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Apple suspected of violating laws against child exploitation

Since Amnesty International has been calling on technology companies such as Apple and Samsung to ensure that the cobalt they use has not been extirpated by child labour . These abuses are being committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in whose mines children under the age of seven work in many cases . One out of every two grams of this metal comes out of it.

In this report, Amnesty International and African Resources Watch , follow the cobalt market. Something that is used in lithium batteries and that is extracted in some artisanal mines where children also play with their lives.

Who’s selling it?

Apple suspected of violating laws against child exploitation
Apple suspected of violating laws against child exploitation

Congo Dongfang Mining (CDM), is a subsidiary of a Chinese mineral trading company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Ltd (Huayou Cobalt) . After processing, they sell it to three battery component companies in China and South Korea. It is the latter that delivers it to the battery manufacturers who supply companies such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony and Volkwswagen .

In preparing the report, researchers from Aministía and Afrewatch spoke to 87 miners, of whom 17 were children , at various sites. In addition, they tracked several vehicles to see the origin and destination of the cobalt.

The report explains that it is not known how many people die obtaining this mineral, since “the corpses are left buried under the rocks” , according to the report. In fact, a 14-year-old orphaned boy admitted to having gone more than 24 hours without seeing the sun.

This report calls on brands like Apple to “assume some responsibility” by taking into account the origin of their “profitable products” . The request is that “basic checks” be made to find out from where specifically they are being bought and under what conditions they are being supplied .

No reply from Cupertino

They point out from Amnesty that Apple did not answer the questions about the acquisition of these components with cobalt. In fact, they simply explained that are evaluating “dozens of different materials, including cobalt, to identify occupational and environmental risks, as well as opportunities for Apple to make effective, scalable and sustainable change”.