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554127_110511_8Congo_571930082.jpg

Blood and Gold

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A young boy takes a break from mining gold at Mongbwalu.

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Men work at the Chudja mine.

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A local miner breaks up rocks in a gold mine near Mongbwalu.

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Mongbwalu miners walk home along a dirt road.

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Men mine for gold on March 27, 2006, in Mongbwalu. Working in mines is dangerous, and workers are poorly compensated. For example, the diamond industry is worth about $900 million annually and provides work for 1 million people, but many diggers earn less than $1 a day.

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Children play on the streets of Mongbwalu. 42 percent of Congolese children aged 5 to 14 are child laborers.

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A Mongbwalu boy mines for gold.

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A woman carries wood along a dirt road in Mongbwalu. The shocking statistics on rape and violence in the Congo -- 48 rapes occur each hour -- have attracted international attention, including boycotts by many U.S. companies of Congolese minerals. But there has been little concrete action from the U.S. government, other than the State Department allotting $17 million for medical care, legal support, and counseling for rape victims. All of this may simply push Congo closer toward trading partners like China (which signed a $9 billion "ore-for-infrastructure" deal with Congo in 2008) who may care less about human rights and corporate social responsibility.

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