Child Labor and Human Trafficking Laws

Child labor is a crime prosecutable under national and international laws. Nonetheless, enforcement is elusive, particularly in an industry where the supply chain is fragmented and human trafficking and child labor is often hidden, which is why GoodWeave's innovative market-based model works to end child labor in the South Asian handmade carpet industry.

Following is a list of laws crafted to eliminate the practice of child labor.


Minimum Age Convention 138 (C138), 1973

Adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1973, C138 binds ratifying countries to pursue a national policy for the abolition of child labor and to progressively raise the minimum age for employment or work to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young persons. This minimum age should be 15 years, or the age reached by the completion of compulsory schooling. According to the convention, the minimum age for work that is likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of young persons is 18. To date, 144 countries have ratified C138, including Nepal in 1997. India and Pakistan are yet to ratify Convention 138. To learn more about C138, click here.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights for children, including civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural. Article 32 states that children have the right to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. The Convention is the most universally accepted human rights instrument in history and has been ratified by 192 countries––every country in the world except two, the United States and Somalia. Click here to learn more about the CRC.

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 182 (C182), 1999

On June 17, 1999, the ILO adopted Convention 182, which calls for immediate and effective measures to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labor. “Child” applies to all persons under the age of 18. “The worst forms of child labor” refers to child slavery, forced labor, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom, prostitution, pornography and forms of work that harm the health, safety or morals of children. To date, 160 countries have ratified ILO Convention 182, including Nepal in 2002. India is yet to ratify Convention 182. To learn about C182, click here.


Closing the “Consumptive Demand Loophole”: Amendment to the Tariff Act of 1930

On February 11, 2016, the Senate passed an amendment (H.R. 644) to close a loophole in Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which bars products made by convict, forced or indentured labor.Click here to learn about the Amendment to the Tariff Act of 1930

The Sanders Amendment to the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930

The Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits the importation of products made with "forced or indentured labor" into the United States. In 1997, the Sanders Amendment clarified that this applies to products made with "forced or indentured child labor."

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

Enacted in 1974, the GSP program authorizes approximately 4,284 products from 140 developing countries, including India and Nepal, to enter the United States market duty-free. In 1984, new provisions took away U.S. trade preferences from countries that systematically deny internationally recognized workers' rights. These rights include: freedom of association; the right to organize and bargain collectively; a prohibition of any form of forced or compulsory labor; and acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work and occupational safety and health.

Trade and Development Act of 2000

This Act, signed into law in May 2000, affords special trade benefits to Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean Basin countries. Section 411 clarifies that the ban on articles made with forced and/or indentured labor under the Trade Act of 1930 now includes goods made with forced and/or indentured child labor. Section 412, worst forms of child labor, denies U.S. trade preferences to countries that fail to meet and effectively enforce the standards established by ILO C182.

GoodWeave is currently the only certification program established to assure that carpets are not made with child labor in India, Nepal and Afghanistan.


California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010

In four little legislative pages the law establishes that slavery exists everywhere and it is in the interest of the State to combat it. Click here to learn about the making of the act from U.S. State Deparment staffperson Alison Kiehl Friedman.

Children's Stories

At the age of five, Manju was already working on the rug looms. While she has since been found and freed from carpet work, some 250,000 children throughout South Asia still toil in obscurity. Through GoodWeave nearly 3,600 kids like Manju have been rescued, rehabilitated and educated, and thousands more deterred from entering the workforce.

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Stand with Sanju

Stand with Sanju film still

About the Organization

GoodWeave works to end child labor in the carpet industry by certifying child-labor-free rugs and by providing education and opportunities to rescued and at-risk children. Learn More »