India’s Hand-Made Carpets Sold in Many Major U.S. Retail Chains
January 28, 2014 — Siddharth Kara, Fellow with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and Adjunct Lecturer on Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, has conducted the largest-ever investigation into slavery and child labor in India’s hand-made carpet sector. The FXB Center today released his report, “Tainted Carpets: Slavery and Child Labor in India’s Hand-Made Carpet Sector”, which documents over 3,200 cases of labor exploitation, including forced labor, bonded labor, child labor, and human trafficking, in carpet production sites belonging to 172 exporters across nine states in northern India.
The report states that: “the working conditions uncovered were nothing short of subhuman. Factories and shacks were cramped, filthy, unbearably hot … filled with stagnant and dust-filled air, and contaminated with grime and mold. Some sites were so filthy, pungent, and dangerous that the researchers were afraid to enter due to the risk to their safety.”
The major carpet exporters who were found to be using slave-like labor will be contacted and invited to collaborate with the FXB Center in an effort to eradicate these practices. Similarly, the major retail chains in the United States who have relationships with these carpet exporters will be encouraged to closely examine their supply chains to ensure that they are free of slave-like labor exploitation.