A CBS News investigation has found child labor being used in the dangerous mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mineral cobalt is used in virtually all batteries in common devices, including cellphones, laptops and even electric vehicles.
A report by Amnesty International first revealed that cobalt mined by children was ending up in products from several companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Samsung.
CBS News traveled to the DRC to follow the complex supply chain. As CBS News correspondent Debora Patta reports, it’s been two years since that damning Amnesty report was published, but the DRC is a country embattled in conflict, and it is difficult and sometimes dangerous to report from there.
On a recent trip to the southern part of the country, CBS News found what looked like the Wild West. There were children digging in trenches and laboring in lakes — hunting for treasure in a playground from hell.
The work is hard enough for an adult man, but it is unthinkable for a child. Yet tens of thousands of Congolese kids are involved in every stage of mining for cobalt. The latest research by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates 40,000 children are working in DRC mines.
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