December 6, 2011

A Poisonous Mix

Child Labor, Mercury, and Artisanal Gold Mining in Mali

Regional Maps
Summary
Key Recommendations
Methodology
I. The Context: Gold Mining in Mali
Mali’s Gold Economy
Artisanal Gold Mining
Child Labor and Migration in West Africa
II. The Legal Framework
International Human Rights Law
National Laws on Human Rights
III. Hazardous Child Labor in Mali’s Artisanal Gold Mines
Hazardous Child Labor throughout the Mining Process
Mercury Poisoning of Children in Artisanal Mines—an “Invisible Epidemic”
“Everything Hurts:” Other Health Consequences of Child Labor in  Artisanal Gold Mining
Working Hours and Pay: Between Family Support and Exploitation
Trafficking
Coercion
Other Child Labor in Mining Communities
Attitudes to Child Labor
IV. Sexual Exploitation and Violence
Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Violence
V. Limited Impact: Policy and Program Responses to Child Labor and Abuse
Government Action on Child Labor
Donor and NGO Programs on Child Labor
The ILO’s “Minors out of Mining” Initiative: Hollow Commitments?
Efforts to End Child Abuse and Trafficking
VI. A Poor Health Policy Response
A Weak Health System
Health Access Barriers for Children in Mining Areas
Government Neglect of Mercury Related Health Conditions
Efforts to Reduce Exposure to Mercury
Towards an International Mercury Reduction Treaty
VII. “I Have Never Been to School” – Access to  Education for Child Laborers in Mines
Difficult Access to Education in Artisanal Mining Areas
Education Policies: Failing to Reach Child Laborers
Social Protection Measures to Improve Access to Education
VIII. The Gold Traders’ Responsibility
The Responsibility of Gold Traders in Mali
The Role of Artisanal Miners’ Associations
The Responsibility of International Gold Trading Companies
Government Mining Policies: Failure to Regulate Artisanal Mining
Regional and International Initiatives towards Mining Businesses
Conclusion
Recommendations
To the Government of Mali
To the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
To Donor Countries and the World Bank, and Relevant UN Agencies, such as ILO, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNEP, and WHO
To Malian and International Companies Trading in Artisanal Gold
To Malian Associations of Artisanal Gold Miners
To All Governments
Acknowledgements
Annex I
Annex II
Annex III
Annex IV
Annex V