Worldwide attention was drawn to the use of child labour in handmade rugs in the 1980s. Studies by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the U.S. Department of Labour and human rights groups revealed that the industry was illegally employing and exploiting large numbers of children. Even more shocking, many children were found to be victims of debt bondage or forced labour, practices specifically banned by the United Nations and the ILO and condemned as contemporary forms of slavery.
By the late 1980s, Kailash Satyarthi, chairman of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude was leading the global fight against child labour. After many years of rescuing Indian children from bonded labour in the rug industry only to see them replaced by others, Mr. Satyarthi recognized that no matter how many children were liberated, others would be forced to take their places at the looms. He wanted to create a market incentive for manufacturers to stop exploiting children on an industrywide basis.
In September 1994, RugMark was formally established by a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, businesses, government entities, and multilateral groups like UNICEF. The first carpets bearing the RugMark label were exported from India at the beginning of 1995, mainly to Germany. Over the next four years, RugMark expanded its certification and rehabilitation activities, and opened offices in Germany, Nepal, and USA.
The UK office was opened in 2001, and in September 2009 the new GoodWeave label was introduced worldwide.
|< Back: About GoodWeave||Next: How GoodWeave Works >|