From the Worldwide Faith News archives

UMW Fights Child Labor Abuses

Date 14 May 1996 15:57:39

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2962 by UMNS on May 14, 1996 at 16:08 Eastern (3634 characters).

SEARCH:   RUGMARK, child labor, child abuse, carpet industry

  UMNS stories may be accessed on the Internet World Wide Web at:
Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency of
the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., New
York, and Washington.

CONTACT:  Joretta Purdue                      248(10-23-71P){2962}
          Washington, D.C.  (202) 546-8722            May 14, 1996

United Methodist Women work to stop
child labor abuses in carpet industry

     WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- A rug is not just a rug when it wears
the RUGMARK label, according to executives of the United Methodist
Board of Global Ministries' Women's Division.
     A resolution passed by the 1996 General Conference, the
denomination's highest legislative assembly, appears to agree. It
calls for working "to eradicate the evils of child labor" by
joining the Child Labor Coalition and supporting such consumer
initiatives as the RUGMARK campaign.
     RUGMARK, a consumer education program of the Child Labor
Coalition with headquarters here, seeks to end abusive child labor
in the manufacture of hand-knotted carpets. It is estimated more
than 1 million children -- some as young as four -- work in
     Women's Division policies include advocating "for corporate
responsibility regarding child labor, including support of the
RUGMARK campaign," explained Kolya M. Braun, Women's Division
executive secretary for children, youth and family advocacy.
     Through RUGMARK International, manufacturers may obtain a
license to sew the RUGMARK label on their carpets by meeting
stringent requirements that assure no child labor is used. Ongoing
inspections monitor compliance. 
     RUGMARK-labelled rugs are expected to reach retail outlets in
the United States in June.
     The first RUGMARK rugs brought to this country were sold at 
a silent auction here April 16 to raise funds for the RUGMARK
     The date was the first anniversary of the death of Iqbal
Masih, who was enslaved in Pakistan's carpet industry at the age
of four and worked in bondage until he was 10. Once freed, he
worked against child servitude, winning international acclaim. He
was shot to death at the age of 12 while riding his bicycle.
     United Methodist Women (UMW) have been active in the Child
Labor Coalition, including the purchase of a rug at the silent
auction. In addition to contributing financial support to the
campaign, the rug will be used to help raise consumer awareness,
Braun said.
     Last fall, UMW collected more than 6,000 of 15,000 signatures
requesting that carpets with the RUGMARK label be made available
to consumers in the United States, Braun said.
     This summer, the UMW plans to participate in a postcard
campaign asking retailers and importers to make RUGMARK carpets
available in retail stores, she said.
     Some weeks after the postcard campaign, a survey will be
conducted to determine where the carpets are being sold, and the
resulting data base will be helpful to consumers, she added.
     Braun said two importers -- Masterlooms, Inc. and Tufenkian
Tibetan Carpets, Inc. -- have made a commitment to carry the
RUGMARK carpets.
     "Nepal has been really on the forefront of participating in
the RUGMARK campaign in that 70 percent of the total rug
production in Nepal is now in compliance with RUGMARK," Braun
said. Alternatives, including schooling, are being offered to
children who had been employed in that industry, she said.
                               # # #         


 To make suggestions or give your comments, send a note to or

 To unsubscribe, send the single word "unsubscribe" (no quotes)
 in a mail message to


Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home