$54 Million of Zimbabwe’s Diamonds Reach Markets, Bloody as Ever

I ran across a recent blog by Amanda Kloer and wanted to share this with you all. I know that sex trafficking may be an issue that you are passionate about and want to do everything possible to stop this from occurring here in the U.S. But we need not forget that there is other forms of human trafficking. There is organ trafficking, domestic servitude/servile marriage and the biggest most profitable type of trafficking:Labor. Just remember that unfortunately everyone in the U.S, including myself, is part of the demand on labor trafficking. We need to understand that many of the products that we purchase here in the U.S were picked or made by slaves in the U.S or in other countries. I myself am happy to say that I have never been into jewelry. Knowing what I know now, I could never own a diamond without feeling guilty. Unless I knew that no slave had anything to do with my diamond, I could never wear it proudly while stating that I am fighting modern-day slavery. I myself would feel like a complete hypocrite. So the next time you are shopping for a pair of diamond earrings, necklace or ring, take the time and re read this article.

$54 Million of Zimbabwe’s Diamonds Reach Markets, Bloody as Ever
by Amanda Kloer September 14, 2010 08:00 PM (PT) Topics: Child Labor, Slave Labor

If you’re in the market for some diamond jewelry but not for forced labor or human rights violations, buyer beware. Zimbabwe recently auctioned off 900,000 karats of diamonds from it’s controversial Marange fields, where there have been reports of widespread forced labor and other human rights abuses. And the auction was supervised by a monitor for the Kimberley Process, the group tasked with preventing blood diamonds from entering the global market.

Zimbabwe, and especially the Marange region, has had serious issues with violence and labor abuses in the diamond industry for years. Forced labor is rampant, and workers have reported being forced to mine diamonds at gunpoint and guarded with armed soldiers while they worked. Those who refused to join the military syndicates that control 95% of the mines in the area were assaulted. In addition to the direct rights violations, the lost revenue from diamonds that are being illegally smuggled and traded denies the Zimbabwean people desperately needed funds to help rebuild their economy. Marange is full of the sorts of industry abuses the Kimberley Process was created to protect against and other abuses no body is tasked with controlling, like human trafficking.

Katy Glen over at the Human Rights blog recently wondered whether or not whether the Kimberley Process has failed in Zimbabwe. It certainly didn’t do a great job over the weekend, when it allowed between $30 and $54 million dollars of diamonds from mines with horrific human rights abuses to be auctioned off into the international market. It hasn’t done consumers who are looking for conflict-free diamonds that don’t support slavery, child labor, or environmental harm any good, as the Kimberley Process doesn’t consider those issues. And it hasn’t helped the people of Zimbabwe, who aren’t getting their fair share of diamond sales which are allowed to go through. Maybe the Kimberly Process hasn’t failed Zimbabwe. Maybe it’s just failed.

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