Gold frenzy employs 20,000 children

Journeyman Pictures – May 27, 2021
Burkina Faso Gold Rush: At nearly 50,000 euros per kilo, gold remains a symbol of wealth. But in Burkina Faso, where children as young as 11 work in artisanal gold mines, there is a dark side to this global business.

Burkina Faso’s new gold rush has lured many children to the gold mines. ‘I was going to school, but I had to give up. … To make more money [my father] asked me to come and work here’, says 14-year old Martial. Working conditions in the dark, waterlogged mines are dangerous, meaning accidents are frequent. ‘We’re scared but we have to find something to eat’, explains one miner. Now, NGOs such as Terres de Hommes are trying to help child labourers by travelling to mines and offering those who are under 18 new opportunities, helping them to develop new skills. ‘I take the children to school … [to] vocational training’, explains one Terres de Hommes worker. Since 2017, they have helped 400 children leave mining.

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