Children's rights organisation Terre des Hommes in the Netherlands has exposed how Madagascar’s mica mines rely on child labour.
According to year-long research commissioned by the organisation, there are at least 11,000 children working in Madagascar’s southern mica mining region.
Mica is a heat-resistant mineral used for everything from cosmetics to electronics, explains Terres des Hommes press officer Jos de Voogd.
It seems like a wonder mineral because it can be used in almost everything from make-up, cosmetics, paints, shampoos and electronics.— Jos de Voogd, Press officer - Terres des Hommes Netherlands
Madagascar is the third biggest exporter of mica globally, and the majority of the mica in the island nation is shipped by boat to Chinese ports.
Researchers found entire families working in the extraction and processing of the mica mineral, digging with their bare hands in dangerous health and safety conditions.
De Voogd says many of the minors do not have access to functioning schools in the poverty-stricken region.
In these areas, there are hardly any schools functioning. So the children go into the mines to work.— Jos de Voogd, Press officer - Terres des Hommes Netherlands
Out of this poverty, there are people who need to make a living.— Jos de Voogd, Press officer - Terres des Hommes Netherlands
More than half of the mica workers are minors.— Jos de Voogd, Press officer - Terres des Hommes Netherlands
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'No school' for children who break their backs at Madagascar’s mica mines