Washington--Cote D’Ivoire, Colombia and Brazil have made significant progress to combat child labor in their mines over the past year while the situation remains bleak in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, an annual report from the U.S. Department of Labor shows.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor released its 13th annual “Findings of the Worst Forms of Child Labor” report, a country-by-country assessment of how much progress nations have made over the past year to reduce the worst forms of child labor. 

Cote d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), which was allowed to re-enter the diamond trade this past spring after the U.N. lifted its decades-old ban, was among those listed as having made significant progress over the past year to combat child labor. 

The report also cited Colombia, where some of the world’s top emeralds are mined, and Brazil as making significant year-over-year progress to bring an end to the worst forms of child labor. The Colombian government’s efforts include participating in a four-year, $9 million project to combat child labor and improve workplace health and safety in mining. 

Countries cited in the report as making little or no progress to end the worst forms of child labor include the Central African Republic (no advancement), where children are engaged in diamond and gold mining, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The Central African Republic remains banned by the Kimberley Process from trading in rough diamonds after reports surfaced that the rebels who overthrew the country’s president were using diamond sales to finance their activities.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, children mine diamonds and also are forced to mine gold along with tin, tantalum and tungsten ores. The ongoing civil war in the DRC is what led to the passage of the conflict minerals provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, which mandates that public companies file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding their sourcing of these minerals. 

The entire report, which is more than 1,000 pages long, is available at DOL.gov


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