Child Labour Then and Now


The country 

The Democratic Republic Of Congo is located in Central Africa. Its capital is Kinshasa, which is the largest city. The DRC is extremely rich in there natural resources, such as copper, coltan, and diamonds, but tend to lack in there infrastructure. There current population is 81,586,997, with 40,579,234 (49.7%) being males and 41,007,767 (50.3%) being females. The life expectancy is averaged out to be that men live to be 55.8 years and women live to be 58.9 years old. The mining industry was a big part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt, copper, diamond, tantalum, tin, and gold as well, were abundantly produced Congo.


Child Labour in The Democratic Republic Of Congo

Children in Congo are forced to work the worst forms of child labour, such as mining, sex trafficking, and child soldiers. I’m going to be focusing on mining.

Mining is a very dangerous but common job for children. Children as young as 7 would be working more than 8 hours a day. Child labour in mines exposes them to fatal injuries and diseases. Children are forced to spend hours in dark cramped mines covered with dangerous chemicals. The children that work in the mines suffer with respiratory conditions due to them always breathing in all the dust. Children also suffer form hearing loss. More than half the worlds supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic Of Congo. It is estimated that 40,000 children are working in the mines across the south, almost all involved in the mining of cobalt. Children in the Democratic Republic Of Congo are mining cobalt for it to eventually end up in our smartphones, cars, and computers that are sold to millions of people across the whole world, by brands such as Apple, Microsoft, and Vodafone. It is estimated that 40% of artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic Of Congo are children. These children are in the mines trying to make money for there family, school fees, and even just for some pocket money. These children are digging at depths of 200-300 metres and are in risks of accidental death scenarios.


Child Labour In the Industrial Revolution

In the Industrial Revolution children often worked in order to support there family. Children as young as 4 years old were working in dangerous conditions all day long, just to live. Children were working in many different jobs, such as working on machines in the factories, working in the coal mines, and as chimney sweeps. Children were wanted more to work instead of adults because they were small and could easily fit in small spaces and in between machines easily. Children were also preferred over adults because they could pay the children less. Children worked really hard for little pay or even no pay at all.  In the time of the Industrial Revolution, the children worked in very dangerous conditions. Children would loose limbs such as fingers, while working on machines that they had really no experience with. While working in the mines, the children had such bad ventilation that they would develop lung diseases from all the dust and fumes they were breathing in.  In the  Industrial Revolution children were often able to choose if they wanted to go into work, unless there family was poor and they forced there children to work.


Similarities and Differences

Unfortunately there were way more similarities then differences between child labour in the Democratic Republic Of Congo and the Industrial Revolution. It is very sad how similar it is. The biggest similarity of them all is how bad the working conditions are, how dangerous it is, and the health risks. Also a similarity is how little they were paid or even not paid at all at times.. One difference in fact is that in the Industrial Revolution they had some what of a chose in if they wanted to go into labour or not, and in the Democratic Republic Of Congo they were usually always forced. Another difference was the working age, in the Industrial Revolution they started as young as 4 and in the DRC they usually started working around 7.

Attempts to Reform Child Labour

The Factory Act in 1833 was a very big achievement for the rights of child labour. This act gave children that worked, more safety. The new laws improved the condition of children working in factories… These laws were:

~No child labour under the age of nine
~Children are not aloud to work at night            
and etc…

This act was not always followed, but child labour seemed to get better and better over time. There are many organizations world wide trying to help child labour. A very popular one is  “SCREAM” which is supporting children right through education, arts, and media. These organization are very important because there trying tog I’ve rights to kids that are fighting for there lives.



“Mining industry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Apr. 2017. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.


“Breaking the chain: Child mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Pact.


“Child labor in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Humanium Together for Childrens Rights.

Child labor in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo


“Child labour in mining in Africa.” The CareerMiner. 16 Sept. 2014.


“Industrial Revolution.” Ducksters Educational Site.


“Factory Act of 1833.” Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution
Cranny, Michael. Crossroads: Meeting of Nations. Toronto: Pearson Education, 1998. Print.

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