Help Bazaar Velvet End Child Labour

8 year-old Arvind, weaves a carpet in a rat infested factory at Mirzapur, India

Throughout South Asia, nearly 300,000 children are forced to weave rugs for the highly profitable handmade rug industry.

Many of them are victim to their family’s debts and are sent off to work in dreadful conditions as young as seven years old. Others were kidnapped or trafficked. These children suffer from malnutrition, impaired vision and breathing, sexual abuse and injuries from using dangerous tools.

One of these children was eleven-year-old Sanju, from Rautahat in Nepal, who found herself responsible for paying off her father’s debt by working 16 hours days at the loom as well as cooking and cleaning for her manager. She was severely injured in the factory but had to keep working until GoodWeave inspectors discovered her last year, and brought to a sponsored rehabilitation centre. She now goes to school and is much happier, although still traumatised by some of her experiences.

The GoodWeave organization is having a remarkable effect in these communities. Since 1995, it has saved more than 3,000 children from the rug factories, GoodWeave uses the funds made by the sale of certified rugs to help these children with shelter, schooling and training.

However, they realize that in order to fully break this cycle of child exploitation, extreme poverty must be tackled. It is due to the lack of secure incomes for parents that this is happened.

Therefore, GoodWeave has spent the last year focusing its standards, taking into account the labour conditions of adults in the weaving industry too. The new standard protects adults from abusive labor conditions, such as forced, bonded and exploitative labor. It also includes environmental criteria, such as managing run-off from dyeing and washing.

The new standard is organized into seven principles:

  1. No child labour.
  2. No forced or bonded labour.
  3. Freedom of association and collective bargaining are recognized.
  4. No discrimination.
  5. Decent working conditions for all adult workers (including health and safety, wages, hours).
  6. Negative environmental impacts of production must be identified and minimized.
  7. Business processes must be transparent and lawful.

So if you would like to help GoodWeave combat child labour and exploitation in general: next time you buy a new rug which was made in India or Nepal, make sure it has a GoodWeave label.

Bazaar Velvet is a member of the GoodWeave organisation and only uses makers who are subject to their conditions and scrutiny. We believe the welfare of the community of weavers that produce our rugs must be protected, particularly children.

Hand-made rugs are gorgeous for a reason: they have been painstakingly designed and made by talented weavers. Do not allow those weavers to be mistreated and support GoodWeave.

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