Child Labor

Child Labor and ORIA’s position

The Oriental Rug Importers Association is absolutely opposed to the use of illegal child labor and, accordingly, our members have taken affirmative steps to avoid the procurement of carpets made with illegal child labor. The ORIA membership, through its ORIA Charitable Fund, has committed funds to assist with schools in Pakistan and India.  For more information see our Charitable Fund Section.

Nevertheless, child labor is a highly emotional issue, and therefore vulnerable to hyperbole and misinformation. It is wholly unrealistic to expect that child labor can be eradicated by fiat and without alternatives in place.

Because of the prevalence of family child labor in the carpet industry, child labor has been an issue with which we have had considerable experience. As ORIA members know firsthand, there are multiple reasons why children weave carpets, and not all child labor is illegal.

First, they learn a traditional craft that they in turn can teach their future children. Second, children are employed to supplement their families’ incomes, which in South Asia are among the world’s lowest. In the poor rural areas in which most weaving in India and Pakistan takes place, family economics often dictate that children work in addition to going to school, assuming schools are available.

For more information on this important topic you can reference the
ORIA Position Paper on Child Labor.