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Child Labor in the DRC Copper Belt in Katanga Region

Work & Education Democratic Republic of the Congo

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) accounts for the majority of mining employment in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also known as the “copperbelt” (copper-cobalt belt). This research provides representative empirical insights on the prevalence and nature of child labor across 150 mining communities (2,635 households) in the region. Separate surveys were also taken with 1,575 children, 88 traders and cooperatives, 75 schools and 137 community leaders. Results show that 11% of children in ASM communities work outside the home, of which 23% work in the mining sector. The main reason reported for this result is poverty, followed by social norms. Findings also show that child workers come from households that are on average poorer, have more children, are more likely to have an adult working in mining and are located closer to a mining site than other households in these communities. The children active in mining are on average older, more likely to be male, have less education than their peers and are less likely to be currently enrolled in school. These findings are relevant to present debates on responsible cobalt sourcing policies.

Funding
  • Operations
    $266,494
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