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Do you know that we all play an indirect role in the major global labor crisis?
In this episode of Motivational Mondays, you’ll hear from Siddharth Kara - author, researcher, screenwriter, and activist on modern slavery. He’s also an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
We’ll discuss his book, “Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives,” and what we can do to amplify the voices of those who are exploited in the name of corporate greed.
CORPORATE GREED IS DEADLY
Tech companies that rely on Congolese cobalt claim that their supply chains adhere to international norms on human rights. They say they have zero-tolerance policies on child labor and that they’re regularly auditing conditions. However, this isn’t the case and these corporations consistently lie in favor of profit.
In the Congo, thousands of children are in literal pits. Young boys climb into hand-dug tunnels and breathe in toxins for 18–20 hours, and when these tunnels collapse, everyone’s buried alive. The landscape is destroyed, the air is contaminated, and the poorest people in the world are suffering.
So, how exactly are these companies adhering to human-rights standards?
THE WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE
Many people worldwide have the mindset of, “If it’s not happening to me, it’s not a problem.” There’s a complete disregard for humanity and that’s also why false safe-labor proclamations from trillion-dollar companies are appalling.
It all leads to one conclusion: these corporations view those who make them money as less than human. Not only the Congolese people, but also their customers and consumers. It’s piracy cloaked as commerce.
ENDING MODERN SLAVERY
Everything happening downstream is a consequence of demand for materials. There are bad actors at every level of the supply chain and solutions need to start at the top.
These companies need to get their boots on the ground instead of sitting in their ivory towers. At the bare minimum, they need to accept responsibility, end child labor, and provide PPE. They can’t sit back and say that it’s someone else’s problem.
What can we do to spark change with these human-rights violations? Listen to find out how we can help end modern slavery.
Listen to this episode to learn about...
[1:44] Why Siddharth is passionate about exposing global human trafficking.
[4:28] Why cobalt is driving a global labor crisis.
[6:40] Why the world’s largest companies should be held responsible for labor violations.
[9:32] The pain and suffering that exists in the heart of Africa.
[13:17] Why companies choose not to pay a fair wage.
[16:10] How we can hold big business accountable.
[20:28] The connection between Kara’s work and his ancestry.
[24:00] Pushing back against those who want to erase history.
Listen to the bonus episode to learn what we can do to end modern slavery and how we can fight human trafficking.
- Read Kara's book, "Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives"
Follow Kara on Twitter
Listen to other Motivational Mondays episodes