General Article The glitter victims: Indian children suffer for the mining of cosmetic material mica

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'We dug with our bare hands. We found my younger daughter who had clawed and dragged herself out of the soil despite her broken leg. But Laxmi was dead by the time we found her, she was not breathing. There was no life in her.’ Sitting outside their mud home in Duba village, in eastern India, Parwatiya Devi recounts the last moments she saw her 12-year-old daughter Laxmi Kurmari, who had died in a collapsed mine eight months ago. Her ten-year-old daughter who sits next to her, can still barely walk.

The girls weren’t playing in an abandoned mineshaft, they were working – searching for the once lowly mineral known as mica. The sparkly material is used to add glitter to everything from car paint to eyeshadow. 

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