What About Rugs & Child Labor?
Child Labor: Is there a chance my rug was woven by Child Slave Labor?
Most rug producing countries including Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt and others have outlawed Child labor. Child Labor is even rare in Afghanistan. Sadly Pakistan and India still allow Child labor and even worse Child Slave Labor. According to the US Department of labor Child labor is rare in most Oriental Rugs but all too common in Pakistani and Indian Rugs.
Even well known American producers are split on child labor. Mason Purcell of Purcell Oriental Rug Co. conducts surprise check of all the looms with which they contract. If she finds children at a loom the rug is cut from the loom the work is paid for and that weaver never works for Purcell again. Yayla Tribal Rugs is a Massachusetts-based company that argues for Child labor. Yayla holds that where the work is done can make the Child labor acceptable.
The US department of labor has published data indicating that in India 300,000 to 400,000 children are used by the carpet industry. While some weave in their homes many are slaves subject to torture. Pakistan is a smaller country but the problem is just as severe. In one survey published by the department of Labor indicated 4 out of 5 workshops used children.
Until the rug producers come clean about Child labor it is safest not to buy rugs from India and Pakistan.
Do Smaller Fingers Tie Better Knots?
No smaller fingers as in children’s fingers cannot compare to the experienced fingers of an older weaver. Who would you hire to paint your house a nine year old or an experienced adult painter. Obviously the child cannot compare to the master.