Child Labor and Oriental Rugs

In some areas of the world where schools are scarce and life is hard, children work for a living. Much as children from rural American families have traditionally helped with the workload on the family farm, Asian children are part of the process of family weaving and shepherding operations.

In the Oriental rug world most child weavers can be found in these homebound endeavors. But in India about 3% of the looms engage children in a less voluntary way. In a country were some people are so desperate that they will sell their own kidneys, some children are sold into slavery and compelled to weave or worse. This practice is less well documented in Pakistan and Nepal but it's thought to be at a level similar to that of India. It doesn't occur much anywhere else. The Persians, Turks and Tibetans dote on their children. They wouldn't tolerate anything of the sort.

The notion that children are sought for doing the finest weaving because of their small fingers is absolute nonsense. Fine weaving is done by master weavers. Child weavers typically produce much cruder rugs.

A Candle in the Night supports Rug Mark and other groups working to eradicate slavery in the Oriental rug industry. Furthermore, many of the rugs we buy from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal are made by a non-profit organization that funds schools for the weavers local communities. We are deeply concerned about the integrity of the products we sell. That means we do everything we can to support companies and organizations that promote the livelihood of the weavers and other workers in the oriental rug business.