From the voices of the children working in the cobalt mines of the Congo comes the untold story of the human suffering that powers our daily lives. Cobalt is a rare earth mineral that is an integral component in the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power our cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles and as the global market for these products has skyrocketed, the demand for cobalt has soared. Around seventy percent of the world's
cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where workers - many of them children - dig by hand under horrific conditions in unregulated mines to fuel the profits of multinational corporations and corrupt bureaucrats. In this searing expose, Siddharth Kara connects the horrors of the
cobalt mines to centuries of exploitation of African lands and people, as he gives voice to the experiences of the children, families, and communities at the heart of this latest atrocity. Kara exposes the human collateral powering the renewable energy revolution, and offers a call to action
challenging readers to grapple with this inconvenient reality.
In many ways this is the latest chapter in the continuing story of the global pillage of the African continent, and of the Congo in particular. From the slave trade spanning from the 16th to the 19th centuries, to the rubber and ivory plunder in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to the cobalt
mines of today. But perhaps never before in human history has the convenience of so many been tied so directly to the suffering of so few, as billions of batteries are powered by the blood of thousands of Congolese children.
About the Author
Siddharth Kara, MBA, is a British Academy Global Professor based at Nottingham University, an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has documented several thousand slaves in more than fifty countries across twenty-one years ofresearch and advises several United Nations agencies, the United States government, foreign governments, charitable foundations, and the media on anti-trafficking policy and law.