Help against the worst forms of socio-economic exploitation of women, girls and children in the mining zone of Kamituga in South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Véronique BULAYA
Posted November 10, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

The results of PIFEVA 2019 research in the mining area of ​​Kamituga on the situation of violations of workers' rights in the mining zone indicate that state agents and private employers do not respect the rights of these workers who are women. , children and men in violation of both national and international standards for the protection of workers' rights. The latter are exploited economically by their employers with impunity in the form of forced labor to which men and women are subjected as well as children, not to mention rapes committed against women.

Indeed, at the extractive activities level, women perform different tasks. There are twangaises, those who grind the sand and the stones of the ores manually in metal mortars, these women earn more or less 1 to 2 dollars per day and they are subject to multiple taxes without a receipt. This mainly female activity is the largest on the Kamituga site in South Kivu and most of the women who perform this activity in this area are military women who work under surveillance of their husbands or cohabitants and currently there is a tension of mistrust that reigns between these women of the military and those of the civilians. We also find women carrying sand and stones that even exceed their weight and often with babies at once, from the extraction site to the grinding site and women Hydraulics who carry water to cool the crushers, these women are often victims of abortions and infections. Working in the wash stations, located in small streams there are also thoughtful women who prepare the crushed sands to be washed by wetting them with water to make mud and women washers who then perform washing the sand. As for the Bizalu women, they recover the rubbish from the sand, make it crushed by the Twangaises, wash the sand again and sell the gold they extract from it, they are often obliged to give their sexes to the diggers in return for the waste.

Few women are CEOs, that is, well owners, and those who are are represented by a man who acts as well manager. Others are souteneuses that is to say the one that supports the activities of a well during the period of hard work related to the digging these women are often victim of fraud.

Women are involved in a variety of activities, ranging from small traders to restaurant owners and others who produce and sell local alcoholic beverages. The practice of prostitution is common as a source of complementary income. Women prostitutes are nicknamed diggers without spades. And some women are also engaged in agriculture. Uses and customs take precedence over national human rights laws in mining squares, which has a detrimental effect on the lives of women and girls. Many women suffer from multiple forms of gender-based violence and sexual violence, including rape, forced marriage and prostitution of under-age girls. The sites we visited have no support structure for women and girls who are victims of violence; there is no police service, let alone special police for women and children. There are a large number of single mothers left alone.

Finally, extreme poverty and widespread ignorance of human rights lead some women with many children to sell their daughters to diggers for a pittance equivalent to two cartons of cigarettes.

The persistence of socio-cultural constraints linked to the status of subordination of women to men hinders and devalues ​​women's participation in activities related to

artisanal mining of minerals, thereby limiting their economic empowerment. Women who work directly or indirectly in the mines do not control their income. Women face many abuses from men who contribute to their vulnerabilities. Women's labor is consistently under-valued relative to men for doing the same work in the mining squares. Body searches, even in women's vaginas, often in plain sight and torture, are often carried out by men at the end of women's shift to ensure that they do not hide. gold under the clothes. Men's scams and cunning are also widely used as means to discriminate against women. This is the environment where the practice of credit is commonplace, however it is often done to the detriment of women, men pay their debts hard once the work is completed or simply do not pay and this, as much for women who offer goods and services only to those who work directly in extraction.

Faced with this dramatic context, the NGO PIFEVA is seeking the necessary resources for the implementation of the project to strengthen respect for the rights of workers, women and children in the extractive gold industry in Kamituga in the territory of Mwenga, province of South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The objective of this project is to contribute to the promotion and respect of good practices in the field of security and human rights, in particular the rights of workers, women and children exploited in Kamituga gold mining. in South Kivu east of DR Congo.

Comments 9

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Anita Shrestha
Nov 10, 2019
Nov 10, 2019

Best of luck sister

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Nov 10, 2019
Nov 10, 2019

Hello, Veronique,

Thank you for sharing the violation of women's rights in mining areas. I'm glad that PIFEVA is doing something to address this. May there be more stakeholders/partners who will help in this situation.

Jill Langhus
Nov 11, 2019
Nov 11, 2019

Hello Véronique,

How are you doing, dear? Thanks so much for spreading awareness around the heinous conditions these poor people are subjected to. Horrible. What did you mean by "often obliged to give their sexes to the diggers in return for the waste?" I'm afraid to ask, but I am curious. It's even more sad, too, that there's an even bigger discrepancy for the poor female workers. How can they even live on that daily wage?

Do you work with PIFEVA? Do you know World Pulse sister, Madeleine? She's also very passionate about this issue. Perhaps if you aren't already, you could collaborate with her efforts? This is her bio:

Also, you may want to consider submitting this story, or another one for the current call for stories, "IStandWithHer:"

Hope you're doing well, dear?!


Nov 12, 2019
Nov 12, 2019

Dear Vero,
It's sad to hear the current happenings in your country. Are these minning companies legal or illegal institute? If they are legal can not the perpetrators be made to face the full rigor of the law?
And are the authorities aware of these events? Have they taken any actions to solve it?
Thanks for sharing, it's rather unfortunate.

Nov 12, 2019
Nov 12, 2019

Thank you for shearing dear Vero. We hope for change.

Usha K.C.
Nov 15, 2019
Nov 15, 2019

Dear Veronique
First of of all would like to thank you very much for sharing this very important and serious story with us . I have heard about mining and exploitation of child labor some where in social sites. But sister you have explained in details about the saddest part of it. You have visualized each and every sad part of the story very clearly. It touched me and came to know more about this. you are doing great to raise their voice for their rights.
keep this up and sending you more power and love.

Nov 26, 2019
Nov 26, 2019

My dear Veronique, seriously the violation of women in extractive industry happens everywhere even in my country. They are treated as dirt yet the same employers still sexually abuse them to show power imbalance. it is really bad. Thank God there are good spirited people and NGOs who have risen to their aid. thank you for sharing

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Nov 27, 2019
Nov 27, 2019

Dear Sis Veronique,
this as you know is a horrific story of abuse of human rights, period! How can the research of NGO PIFEVA be more successful to eradicate change and protect the rights of women , children, etc all involved of this mistreatment against humanity?
We who work and live in Africa know it is too common place of male ruled societies past and present dictating to women what they cannot do when, where and with whom nonsense. The goal is to unite women everywhere so as to eradicate male evil dominance over women and girls lives everywhere on global earth in every topic pertaining to violence and human rights. Thanks for sharing your story and let us know how we can help besides sharing and commenting within our means to support you with your cause.
GOD bless you!

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Dec 01, 2019
Dec 01, 2019

Hello Veronique,
How are you doing. Thank you so much for your story which pinpoints the violations that women are going through. We pray that something is actually done for these women. Keep us posted on this situation.
Have a lovely day.