Extractives & Mining
Mining is carried out in almost every country in the world and plays an important role in many economies. Though many mineral reliant countries rank low on the Human Development Index, suggesting that workers in those regions may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Workers, adults as well as children, are exposed to highly hazardous working conditions in this sector including exposure to harsh chemicals and lack of personal protective equipment. Several minerals are closely tied to armed conflict. In this setting workers may be forced to mine through induced indebtedness or under direct threat of violence. Mines are usually concentrated in remote areas, which leads to a high degree of isolation of workers making it physically unable for them to escape. Often mining activities create the only viable livelihood opportunity in a region, leaving workers with no alternatives even if they are facing exploitation. In some regions workers are recruited using recruitment offices who often provide the workers with misleading information. Many workers are then prevented from leaving their workplace through debt linked to their recruitment, physical isolation, and threats. Workers may also be sold to another person by a family member, who receives a payment for recruiting them, and the worker is then required to work off this fee.