Albanian child labour takes shine off chrome industry

A family of chrome pickers take a break from work in Bulqiza, Albania. Children in the country work...

A family of chrome pickers take a break from work in Bulqiza, Albania. Children in the country work the side of the mountains, outside mining areas, looking for scraps to sell through an intricate black market. (photo by Thane Burnett, special to QMI Agency)

Thane Burnett, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

BULQIZA, Albania — Hidden below, the veins run deep and far.

Invisibly, they stretch from Albania to everything from cellular phones to perhaps even your sparkling kitchen sink.

This is a confounding story of chrome, before its polished gleam catches our eyes — and how the hands of children are pulling it from muck and mountains.

But first, a wider context — June 12 is the International Day to End Child Labour.

Lots of kids work jobs for themselves and their families. That's not a bad thing, if it's safe and they can go to school.

But according to estimates by World Vision Canada, as part of their nochildforsale.ca campaign, 85 million children around the world toil in dangerous, dirty and degrading trades.

As the globe becomes a more intimate marketplace, some consumers are concerned their products may be assembled with the blood and sweat of the helpless.


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