Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ like African Slave Labor

It’s that time of the year again where the “He Went to Jared” commercials start pouring through your television. Want some extra bling this Valentine’s day? Go for it. I’m not anti-diamonds.  But I do ask that you ensure your diamond doesn’t stem from bloodshed, child labor or warfare. Is the indulgence worth the infliction? I seriously hope not. Demand product transparency from a brand, ensuring that your diamonds merely say ‘I Love You’ and not ‘I don’t care about the rest of the world.’

From the chain around a rapper’s neck to the queen of England, the shine and sparkle of diamonds appear quite delectable. But some diamonds, delectable or not, create destruction. Mined and sold to boost war, ‘conflict diamonds’ support rebels who grossly abuse human rights, often murdering and enslaving the local populations to excavate the glitzy goods. We can stop this by purchasing ‘Kimberly Processed’ diamonds. The Kimberley Process joins governments, industry and civil society to validate and certify shipments of diamonds as conflict-free. In addition, participating states must meet legislative and institutional requirements, committing to transparency and certifying diamonds from the production to the exportation.

Validate your diamond purchases possess the Kimberly Process certificate, authenticating that your new bling came from a conflict-free source. Other products to watch out for include: chocolate taken from the cocoa trade, which has fueled years of conflict in the Ivory Coast and gold, the dirtiest mining business in the world, with one gold ring generating 20 tons of waste!

Support Friends of the Congo at YourCause.com.  The Congo is a central storehouse for minerals, like diamonds.  The organization hopes that someday the Congolese will determine their own destiny.  They fight that one day the Congo will utilize their country’s resources not just for a high-pitched squeal of a woman draping herself with jewels, but for the betterment of their own Congolese development.

-Lizette Romero

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