Congolese children mine cobalt for batteries.
Congolese families have sued Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft, and Tesla, accusing them of aiding child labor. Working in dark underground tunnels with primitive tools, children mine cobalt for batteries used in the products of these companies. However, they are injured or die.
The lawsuit was filed in Washington by the international rights advocacy firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Plaintiffs demand damages for forced labor and additional compensation for unfair enrichment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional trauma. For heavy and hazardous work, children were paid $ 2 a day.
Families claim their children illegally worked in mines owned by British mining company Glencore. The cobalt from the mines of Glencore was bought by the Belgian company Umicore, which then sold it to Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Dell.
In addition, the children worked in mines owned by the Chinese company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, which supplies cobalt to Apple, Dell and Microsoft, and also, probably, to the other defendants.
The plaintiffs are convinced that the listed companies knew about the situation and had the ability to prevent violations.
The demand for cobalt has tripled over the past five years, and by the end of 2020, it may double further. More than 60% of cobalt is mined in the DRC, one of the poorest countries in the world.