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DOL to fund research on child labour engaged in South Asian carpet industry

Jun '07
South Asian carpet industry has come under scanner of the US Department of Labor (DOL), which today announced research funding up to $3.5 million to study involvement of child labor engaged by the industry sector in Pakistan, India and Nepal.

Announcing this through its official Federal Register website, DOL says research will include collation and analysis of data that will build and expand upon existing research on child labor on the carpet industry in these three countries.

According to International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated for 2004, 218 million children between the ages 5 to 17 were engaged in child labor, around the world. These children had to forego schooling, at an early age to supplement family incomes placing themselves at significant risk working under hazardous conditions and at times, facing sexual abuse.

Currently, DOL claims lack of reliable data on children engaged in carpet sector for these countries that have "trended away from the most labor-intensive, hand-knotted carpets, in favor of hand-hooked or hand-tufted varieties that are quicker to produce, less durable and less expensive for the consumer."

"In Pakistan and India, carpet exporters typically engage contractors or middlemen, who place orders with weavers working in small weaving centers or in private homes. This arrangement is often referred to as the 'cottage' industry. The hidden nature of the 'cottage' industry in Pakistan and India can lead to greater involvement of children, with children working either directly with their families or as hired labor. In Nepal, carpets are typically produced in factories and the use of child labor within these factories has been documented," states the register.

Globally, campaigns voice concerns against unethical labor practices, specifically for children engaged in different industries. But the mute question is which child will not slog it out to help his / her family survive and secure that precious single meal!

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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