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This Report About Slavery And Child Labor In India’s Handmade Carpet Industry Will Horrify You

29 January 2014 No Comment

Children are locked, abused, beaten, and forced to work up to 18 hours a day, according to Harvard University’s investigation into India’s exploitative labor practices.

The largest-ever investigation into labor practices in India's handmade carpet industry by Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights has revealed startling details of slavery and child labor.

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Siddharth Kara / Harvard School of Public Health

India is the world’s largest exporter of handmade carpets which are sold to major U.S. retail chains including Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's and Target.

However, the “Tainted Carpets: Slavery and Child Labor in India's Hand-Made Carpet Sector,” written by Siddarth Kara, a Harvard lecturer and fellow on human trafficking, documented over 3,000 cases of forced labor and as many as 1,400 cases of child labor in the industry across nine northern states.

The report revealed horrifying details of sub-human working conditions, physical and verbal abuse, chronic underpayment, severe ailments and several other hardships endured by men, women, and children working in the industry, many of whom were sold into slavery.

In 2012, major U.S. retailers imported handmade carpets from India worth $ 306 billion. An average hourly wage for carpet workers of $ 0.21.

In a press release, Kara said: “U.S. and Western consumers must become more aware of the atrocious conditions under which their carpets are woven. Those conditions must then be improved in a way that does not cause any ill effects to local populations.”

The study documented 1,406 cases of child labor.

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Siddharth Kara / Harvard School of Public Health


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