Verité’s report on risks of forced labor in artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) in Peru raises challenging questions for companies in industries including jewelry, mining, electronics and banking. Not only does the report show that these risks are very real, but it reveals that ASM gold tainted by human rights abuses makes its way—through corruption, laundering and illegal export—into the hands of global traders, refineries, banks and into our watches and smart phones.
Hundreds of thousands of people are employed in Peru in artisanal gold mining and peripheral services (such as restaurants, tire repair, brothels, etc.). During research for our latest report, Verité interviewed almost 100 workers, each of whom told a unique story of their experiences. Interviewees told us horrendous stories of labor and sexual exploitation in Peru. Here are two of those stories.
Quinn Kepes, Program Manager at Verité, has written in this space in the past about his experiences conducting research into illegal gold mining operations in Peru. Here, he discusses the full report, Risk Analysis of Indicators of Forced Labor and Human Trafficking in Illegal Gold Mining in Peru, just released, and his hope for future change in the sector.