How your smartphone could be encouraging child labour

Check your cellphones, because it may well be time to feel guilty about how they were made - or your tablet, PC or watch for that matter.

A CBS News investigation has found child labour is often involved in obtaining cobalt, a key component in batteries, from Africa.

Eleven-year-old Ziki Swaze has never been to school, but he has received an education in washing cobalt while working in the mines for a pittance.

He brings home a dollar or two every evening to support his family and ailing grandmother.

"I have to go and work there... because my grandma has a bad leg and she can't," he said.

"There is no one to look after her... I am the one who helps."

Many children have a story like Ziki, but one group is trying to put an end to the exploitation they suffer from.

Sister Catherine Mutindi's Good Shepherd Project has rescued over 1000 children from the mines.

"It's horrible and they know that it is very dangerous [in the mines]," she said.

"We have over 100 orphans, total orphans in this school, and they have lost their parents in the mines.

"Some of the children, when they came here, have gone through accidents, broken limbs - so they know the dangers."

Her charity is supported by international aid and global cobalt supplier Congo Dongfang Mining (CDM).

After the discovery CDM had child-mined cobalt in their supply chain, the company donated $71,000 to the project and says it has now implemented responsible sourcing guidelines.

That's little comfort for Ziki though, who still faces another day working in the mines.

CBS News asked him what he dreams about before he goes to sleep at night after working in the mines. The answer was simple: school.


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