|Alluvial diamond miners in Kono District, Sierra Leone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Various warlords, armed rebel groups, and unscrupulous government or military officials in countries such as Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola exploited the chaos of ongoing civil war, widespread poverty, and rampant corruption to enrich themselves and fund their military efforts. These illicit blood diamonds were commonly used as an unofficial currency to purchase arms and munitions from abroad due to the high demand for diamonds on the international market.
In most cases, civilians were effectively enslaved and forced to work under brutal conditions to collect the diamonds, which were then sold to unscrupulous foreign dealers. Eventually, as a result of public outrage in many of the Western countries were these blood diamonds were ultimately sold, more stringent business standards were adopted by the diamond industry to certify that blood diamonds from conflict zones were not purchased or sold by their dealers.