SEX IN THE COUNTRY: Congolese Women Must Choose Rape or Slavery

The US economy is bad right now.  Every day we hear about the poor job numbers, the increase in foreclosures, the people living below the poverty line.  And even here in posh, sheltered Santa Monica, we feel it.  I can’t even count on the number of businesses that have closed on Montana in the last two years, some of which have been here forever.

It seems however, that the US and Western market is still very good for both jewelry and technology, like cell phones and computers.  Much of the raw material for these products – gold, coltan, tin ore – is mined from Africa, specifically the Eastern Congo. Though the official name for the country is the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is a terrorist regime from the standpoint of the women who live there: 48 women are raped every hour.

“If you choose to get food from the field you have to accept that you’re going to be raped,” said Patience Kengwa, 30, who works at Kamituga gold mine. Having fled her village, a dangerous place reminiscent of Hotel Rwanda where she was raped five times, she now she pounds rocks and carries heavy sacks for pennies a day, essentially slave wages, that are often docked for small infractions or stolen by other workers or gangsters.

Rich mines have recently been discovered in this area, and unfortunately, the wealth of the country is the hands of very few (again, despite the democratic moniker…) kind of like the set up in Blood Diamond .  These few run the mines like slave labor camps.  They blame the free market, i.e., the American and Western corporations’ demand for cheap jewelry and technology. US corporations are supposed to vet these operations for human rights’ abuses, but many don’t. Lots of the workers confess they wish their country was not so rich.

But the workers have few choices.  Sometimes, the slave bosses, in need of more hands, will go to a village and kidnap a group of women.  Then they will ransom the women for money – the village pays, the women come back, the women owe the village.  This forces them into the mines.

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One Response to SEX IN THE COUNTRY: Congolese Women Must Choose Rape or Slavery

  1. charles says:

    its really a sad news to hear some congolese women are being raped over their welthy.(mines) i love people from D.R.C

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