Film by: Tim Tyson Short and Caroline Noble
Throughout South Asia, 200,000 children are exploited as child labourers within the carpet industry. Growing trends in rural poverty, combined with an increase in the economic migration of adult workers leaving the carpet industry suggest this is an ever increasing problem. Kidnapped or sold into the industry, children between 4 to 14 years old often face working days of up to 18 hours, and are subject to malnutrition, impaired vision and risk of deformities from sitting in cramped conditions for long durations. They are also highly vulnerable to the possibility of trafficking.
Nepal GoodWeave Foundation offers an exciting model which leads to better practice within the industry, by using a holistic approach that tackles both the prevention and rehabilitation of child labour in the carpet industry. Participating companies who abide to its strict no-child-labour guidelines are issued with a unique, traceable certification label for their carpets, and are inspected through regular and thorough monitoring. GoodWeave also rescues child weavers from non-compliant factories and offers them rehabilitation into the wider community through education, vocational training and eventual job placements. Child labour prevention programmes complete its approach, with a focus on education and health of carpet workers, their children and family members.
Since its inception in 1995, Nepal GoodWeave Foundation has successfully brought more than half of the carpet industry into its inspection programme, with the goal of reaching a 70 per cent threshold by 2014. They have also freed more than 3,000 child labourers, brightening their futures dramatically. Central to these results is the voice given to these children at the heart of the issue, incorporating their feedback into future strategy and programmes, and giving them a choice in their rehabilitation options.