Our work to end slavery in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is under threat. Our Congolese partner organizations say an executive order being drafted by the Trump White House would undo years of progress.
The executive order would suspend the Conflict Minerals Rule, which requires major U.S. companies to disclose if they purchase minerals that finance one of history's deadliest wars. Free the Slaves research teams have documented that slavery is widespread at Congo mines.
The Coalition of Anti-Slavery Civil Society Organizations in the Congo says the rule has achieved remarkable results:
- Reduced crime related to mineral resources. The activity of armed groups at mining sites has decreased significantly.
- Children exploited by armed groups have left the mines.
- Only licensed sites have official permission to operate.
- A responsible conflict-free supply of minerals from the DRC (mineral traceability) has been established, prohibiting the army and rebel groups from generating illicit profits by selling minerals.
- The Congo government can now stabilize the flow of revenue from mining royalties and taxes.
- Opportunities now exist for mining companies to be accountable to local communities by contributing to their development.
View the full coalition statement (in French) here.
American industry associations have been trying unsuccessfully to overturn the Conflict Minerals Rule in court. Now, news reports say President Trump is preparing to order a two-year suspension, claiming the rule jeopardizes U.S. national security and has cost too much to implement. The law allows him to suspend the rule in the interest of national security, but doing so would put impoverished Congolese at greater risk of enslavement.
Free the Slaves stands firmly on the side of freedom. We speak out when public policy violates that commitment. We support our Congolese anti-slavery partner organizations, and the many villagers that their organizations serve. The Conflict Minerals Rule should not be weakened, repealed or suspended. No company should be allowed to enslave workers and hide it. Consumers and investors have a right to know whether they are subsiding slavery.
What can you do?
- Get smart and spread the word. Read about slavery in Congo, and watch child slaves describe the brutality they have endured, on our Congo webpage.
Thank you for standing with us.