There are an estimated 1,045,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo (GSI 2018). Worsening political and economic conditions throughout the country have exacerbated already high levels of instability, insecurity, and political tension and rendered populations more vulnerable to trafficking. Some men, women, and children working in artisanal mines in eastern DRC are subjected to forced labor, including debt bondage, by mining bosses, other miners, family members, government officials, and armed groups. Some children are subjected to forced labor in the illegal mining of diamonds, copper, gold, cobalt, tungsten ore, tantalum ore, and tin, as well as the smuggling of minerals.Benita’s parents died when she was 13 years old. Her older brother threatened to starve her or to send her out of the house if she couldn’t contribute to household expenses. Benita went to work in the mines where she was subjected to long hours for little pay and subjected to sexual violence. In 2012 Benita met community workers from Free the Slaves who helped her leave her situation. She has now mastered dress making skills and become a good seamstress that enables her to make an honest living
My story is hard to tell.
Every morning, I transported and sold sorghum juice to the quarry workers. I also transported minerals from the quarry. I worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and I hardly earned $1 per day.
I love my job and I want other gender-based violence survivors to learn dressmaking and earn a living like I do. I thank ASSODIP and its partners for supporting slavery survivors.
Narrative provided by Free the Slaves