Child labor in India: the little mica convicts

Child labor in India: the little mica convicts

Behind the shine of many products, such as cosmetics or car paint, hides mica, a mineral which, when reduced to powder, gives them shine. Where is he from ? Who makes it? In northern India, men and women dig the soil to extract it. But in some illegal mica mines also work children, as noted “Special Envoy”.

Correspondent.  Child labor in India: the little mica convicts

It is a stone with valuable properties for many industries. The resulting powder makes cosmetics and car paint sparkle, or allows electronic components to be isolated. However, mica is not well known to consumers. Where is he from ? How is it produced?

“Special Envoy” investigated at the very beginning of the production chain, in Jharkhand, a very poor region in northern India. In the hollow of a cliff, about twenty men and women search the ground in search of mica.

Eight hours a day, for the equivalent of 1 euro

There are thousands of mines like this in Jharkhand. Here, no companies, no foremen. Everyone comes to collect mica to resell it to local companies. The mineral will then be refined, exported and then used in the manufacture of countless products. These women scrape the ground eight hours a day to extract it, which will allow them to earn the equivalent of a euro.

Children at work from 6 a.m.

In these illegal mines, men and women, but not only. A little further in the valley, we see children. They are between 6 and 9 years old. They come here on Sundays, they explain, or from 6 to 8 in the morning, before going to school. Local and international NGOs estimate that more than 20,000 children work in mica mines in India.

Extract from “Les convats du mica”, a report to see in “Special Envoy” on December 17, 2020.

> Replays of France Télévisions news magazines are available on the Franceinfo website and its mobile application (iOS & Android), “Magazines” section.