Photographer Marcus Bleasdale spent a great deal of time from 2003-2004 covering the exploitation of natural resources in Eastern Congo. Children were either used to mine gold for the rebels that was sold to finance the war or to pick up a weapon and fight as soldiers. Human Rights Watch, with these pictures, pressured the company buying all of this gold ($150 million dollars worth) to stop.
There is no denying the power of these images, and National Geographic is still engaging in the story. Children are no longer only mining gold. They are now mining other resources such as tin, tantalum and tungsten - resources that our electronic devices rely on. It is the hope of Bleasdale, with the power of National Geographic, that one day, we will be able to buy electronic devices that are stamped "conflict free."