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Child Labor Problem
Around the world, millions of children have never had a childhood. They are forced to work, sometimes as child laborers, sometimes as virtual slaves. This practice is illegal and just plain wrong.
Child labor is a crime committed against nearly 220 million children, or one in every seven, ages 5 to 17, around the world. The majority are girls in the Asia Pacific region.
Many of the worst forms of child labor are a problem in India, Nepal and Pakistan, where RugMark operates. These include child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, bonded child labor, child domestic work and the recruitment and use of children for armed conflict or drug trafficking.
Demand for child labor is so high that desperate parents sell their children into bondage. According to UNICEF, 14% of children in India between the ages of 5 and 14 are engaged in child labor activities including carpet production.
While some people mistakenly think it is better when all members of a family work, child labor actually makes poverty worse. Child workers come cheaply and sometimes at no cost, and drive down wages for adult laborers. Plus children who work forfeit an education that could have helped them achieve a higher standard of living as adults. Child laborers are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, are subject to long hours of physically demanding and unrelenting work, and suffer from deprivation and poor health.
Click here to learn more about child labor in the handmade carpet industry.
The first part of the 21st century is a defining time for the movement to end child labor. Anti-child labor organizations have grown and have gained enough international support to declare some victories: child carpet weavers in South Asia have declined from one million in 1995 to an estimated 300,000 today; the ILO Convention 182 on the “Worst Forms of Child Labor” passed in 1999; and the Trade and Development Act of 2000 clarifies that the U.S. ban on articles made with forced and/or indentured labor includ goods made with forced or indentured child labor.
However, the transformation that will drive a permanent change is still several steps away.
We need you to take action!