THE PURPLE SPIRAL
Mines in Madagascar don't look the way you imagine. There are no trucks or noisy machines over here, just a some men and women digging holes on the ground. Next to it lays a camp where a few dozen families, including children and women live in terrible conditions.
Holes can go up to 20 meters deep and, once the layer of calcareous rock is found, tunnels are digged horizontally for a few more meters. That way, sapphire stones are found. A few times a month, a tunnel collapses, becoming a death trap with no chance for escape.
Miners in Madagascar don't even own the hole they dig. Their employer provides a few tools and some weekly food, but takes 50 percent of the precious stones found. These families have no other source of income or food and so the system is perpetuated.
In return, miners risk their life daily.