An unflinching investigation reveals the human rights abuses behind the Congo’s cobalt mining operation—and the moral implications that affect us all.
Cobalt Red is the searing, first-ever exposé of the immense toll taken on the people and environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by cobalt mining, as told through the testimonies of the Congolese people themselves. Activist and researcher Siddharth Kara has traveled deep into cobalt territory to document the testimonies of the people living, working, and dying for cobalt. To uncover the truth about brutal mining practices, Kara investigated militia-controlled mining areas, traced the supply chain of child-mined cobalt from toxic pit to consumer-facing tech giants, and gathered shocking testimonies of people who endure immense suffering and even die mining cobalt.
Cobalt is an essential component to every lithium-ion rechargeable battery made today, the batteries that power our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and electric vehicles. More than 70 percent of the world’s supply of cobalt is mined in the Congo, often by peasants and children in sub-human conditions. Billions of people in the world cannot conduct their daily lives without participating in a human rights and environmental catastrophe in the Congo. In this stark and crucial book, Kara argues that we must all care about what is happening in the Congo—because we are all implicated.
About the Author
SIDDHARTH KARA is an author, researcher, screenwriter, and activist on modern slavery. He is a British Academy Global Professor, an Associate Professor of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at Nottingham University, and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. Kara has authored three books on modern slavery and won the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. Kara's first book was adapted into a Hollywood film, Trafficked. A feature film inspired by Cobalt Red is currently in pre-production. He is based in the UK.
Praise for Cobalt Red
“With extraordinary tenacity and compassion, Siddharth Kara evokes one of the most dramatic divides between wealth and poverty in the world today. His reporting on how the dangerous, ill-paid labor of Congo children provides a mineral essential to our cellphones will break your heart. I hope policy-makers on every continent will read this book.” -- Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost
Praise for Modern Slavery
"While many in this fight are sympathetic to the suffering, Kara not only brings true expertise, he brings true empathy. Read this book to immerse yourself in both." -- Jean Baderschneider, CEO, Global Fund to End Modern Slavery
"Extraordinary and shocking book." -- Alex De Waal, Times Literary Supplement
"A must-read for all those concerned about human rights and labor exploitation." -- Urmila Bhoola, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery