This oped originally appeared on Huffington Post.
This Valentine's Day, as many of us give and receive gifts of flowers, chocolate, or jewelry, I can't help but wonder if the gold jewelry for sale could be connected to a war halfway around the world.
In eastern Congo, the world's deadliest conflict since WWII rages, and more than five million people have died from war-related causes. The conflict gold trade in eastern Congo has become a very lucrative business for some of the armed groups perpetuating the conflict, many of whom use coercion and violence to secure control of the mines and strategic trade routes.
Sadly, the majority of people who are most negatively affected by the conflict gold trade are Congolese civilians -- particularly women and children. Tens of thousands of the miners working in harsh and dangerous conditions are children as young as 11 years gold, and mass rape of women is used by armed groups that profit from gold as a strategic weapon of war.[view whole blog post ]