Saturday, October 15, 2005

Stolen Childhoods

This is a still from the documentary Stolen Childhoods about the use of child labour around the world. Some of the more egregious examples are from the Indian sub-continent [I'm tempted to speculate about why that is, but maybe I'll save that for later. One interesting related fact --- the carpet industry in India took off after Iran banned the use of child-labour in their carpet industry in the 70s]. Children like the little boy in the picture are forced to work on carpet-looms for hours a day, physically abused (beaten, chained to their looms) and denied a normal childhood.

If you find this unconscionable, the website has a whole list of suggestions for things you can do. Among them :

  • If you buy a carpet, make sure it has the RUGMARK label
  • Support Kailash Satyarthi's Bachpan Bachao Andolan ["Save Childhood Movement"] that rescues children from businesses that employ them.
  • Relatedly, if you think people at the bottom of the global economic chain don't deserve to be screwed over as much as they are at the moment, buy Fair-Trade Coffee, Rice [via Sepia Mutiny] or whatever else you consume. [Another interesting fact from the movie : coffee farmers in kenya get paid 1/40th of the price paid by the consumer in the US]


Blogger Bdeshini said...

Some of the more egregious examples are from the Indian sub-continent [I'm tempted to speculate about why that is,

Speculate ahead . . . That is what blogs are for.

Reading about Stolen Childhoods makes me glad that I have had the opportunity for not only enjoying my childhood but also putting of adulthood for as long as I can.

10/19/2005 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger ashvin said...

I know all about putting off adulthood --- atleast you have a real job :)

About my theory about why child-labour is a serious problem in the subcontinent. My first instinct was that it had something to do with the hierarchical segregation of south-asian society which makes it possible for people at the bottom to be treated like crap; and people to have a fatalistic view of other people's suffering. But that wouldn't explain why it happens in Brazil and the US (that the movie also talks about). So I think it has got to do with the creation of a permanent underclass -- hispanic immigrants in the US, people of (mostly) african descent in Brazil, and south asians in the middle east. But it's a chicken-and-egg problem, so I think what I'm trying to say is that the toleration of some abuse of certain segments of a society leads to the worsening of that abuse over time. Which is kind of an obvious statement.

10/20/2005 11:47:00 AM  

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