Buying a diamond ring

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Was your sparkling diamond mined by child slaves in Sierra Leone?

Children work as slaves in the diamond mines near Koidu Town, the capital of the Kono district of the Republic of Sierra Leone (ironically, a former British colony which was established for freed West African slaves and which was once the base for the Anti-Slavery Squadron of the Royal Navy).  There thousands of child slaves work without pay for the mine barons.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, was stunned by the magnitude and scale of slavery which he saw in the diamond mines.  "I was horrified by what I saw at the minefields", he said.

These diamonds are not "blood diamonds" and are readily exported to Antwerp and other locations where they are polished and make their way to your local department store or jeweler.

If your diamond is a cheaper diamond or gem, was it cut or polished by bonded children in India? Less expensive diamonds and gems are imported into India as rough stones, which are cut or polished by children.  Much of the industry is based in the State of Gujarat.

You can assist by purchasing from those diamonds and gems from companies which we support.  As we receive requests from around the world (from the USA to Iraq), let us know what country you live in.

The material in this report relating to Sierra Leone is based on the report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict, and the material relating to diamond and gem polishing in India is based on the Mission to India by the Society's Secretary-General.