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Sandra Polaski's comments on Indian carpet industry
Nov '10
Deputy Undersecretary of Labor Sandra Polaski issued the following statement clarifying the U.S. Department of Labor's position on the use of child labor and forced labor in carpet production in India:

"Recently the Carpet Export Promotion Council (India's Ministry of Textiles) hailed 'the decision of the U.S. Department of Labor in deleting Indian carpets as a product produced by forced labor or child labor in violation of international norms..." The Labor Department wishes to clarify that it has not made a final determination about whether carpets from India are produced with child labor, forced child labor or forced labor.

"The Department of Labor's Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking publishes and continues to update two lists. The first, the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor, was mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. That list includes products the department has reason to believe are produced by child labor and/or forced labor in violation of international standards. The TVPRA list includes carpets from India under the categories of both 'child labor' and 'forced labor.'

"The second, the List of Products Requiring Federal Contractor Certification as to Forced or Indentured Child Labor, was mandated by Executive Order 13126. On Sept. 11, 2009, the Department of Labor released an initial determination in the Federal Register proposing an update to the list with 29 products from 21 countries, including carpets from India. The notice requested public comments for a period of 90 days. Public comments were received and reviewed by all relevant agencies and a final determination was issued on July 20, 2010, in the Federal Register.

“The final determination provides responses to the most commonly received public comments. The only difference between the 2009 initial determination and the 2010 final determination of the executive order list was that carpets from India was not included in the final determination. The Labor Department received a submission from the Carpet Export Promotion Council during the public comment period that suggested child labor may have been significantly reduced in the production of carpets in India in the formal sector.

"Given that child labor and forced labor often occur in informal production of goods, the Labor Department believes that more information is needed to make a final determination on whether carpets from India should be included on both of its lists. A Labor Department contractor is currently undertaking extensive research on child and forced labor in carpet production in South Asia, including India. We expect to receive information on the use of forced child labor on both registered and unregistered looms through this research and will wait until that time before making a final decision on the inclusion of carpets from India on the executive order and TVPRA lists."

US Department of Labor

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