Child Labor in Dubai’s Gold Supply Chain

Child Labor in Dubai’s Gold Supply Chain

Dubai may like to call itself the city of gold, but at a deadly cost

Dubai has become one of the top dogs in the global gold trade in the last few decades. Around 40% of the international gold trade flows though Dubai, which has been dubbed the City of Gold for this explicit reason. Dubai hosts the Dubai Precious metal conference for gold refiners, traders, bankers and experts that assess the global market and identify trends for promoting business and trade between nations.

Unfortunately, the conference failed to include human rights in their agenda, which is currently a huge concern for the UAE capital. Although the regulatory body, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, has put laws into place to enforce standards and lawful sourcing of human resource, the standard doesn’t address the issue of child labor at all. There is no mention of it in the prerogative and it seems that the UAE regulatory body is either completely ignorant of the issue, or is deflecting it in favor of more productive ones.

The research by the Human Rights Watch suggests that failing to address child labor in the imminent gold supply chain, states that it is neglecting to determine the impact it can have on children. This issue gained a whirlwind of publicity in Ghana, where the documented abuses of children in the gold supply chain and their role in gold mining and production was made clear to the global community. Traders explicitly mined gold from unlicensed mines and sold it to export companies who had insufficient protection in place to determine and filter the gold which was mined by children.

Dubai has become a hub for gold trade and it fails to understand the background or the origin of how that gold reaches its greedy clutches. Children work in sweltering heat with no protective clothing or safety gear, with no attention to any safety regulations and without any regard of their lives, much less their rights. They work alongside adults in the burning heat. Most children drop out of school to work full time to earn wages that are despicable and lower than an acceptable average wage. What is worse is that these children are at a constant danger of being killed in an event that the mine collapses.

A child is hired to dig, carry the gold ore, filter it by using the toxic and harmful mercury and be at a constant danger of suffering from lifelong health risks due to a constant exposure to hazardous physical activities. The global gold trade is currently being headed by the UAE and they have ignored the irrefutable fact that the industry is built on the back of children and the relevant authorities are not paying any heed to that fact. They are not doing anything to stop it or to investigate into the matter.

The understandable course of action for the UAE authorities should be to trace back the gold through the jewelers, gold traders and refiners to identify if the gold is mined without violating any child labor laws. Independent monitoring, regardless of supplier contacts or the origin of trading company should be undertaken. If they really want to protect children who are the future of this world, they need to act now and take strong action.