TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ATHAR HUSSAIN KARACHI: Every morning when other children of Karachi’s historical fishermen settlement head for school, 12-year-old Sania and her sisters leave for a local workshop where they spend the entire day weaving carpets. Though the practice is banned by law, child-labor is rampant in Pakistan’s handmade rug industry (like other South Asian nations). Children aged 10 to 14 are forced to work for 4 to 9 hours a day to weave rugs destined for markets in Europe. These malnourished minor children suffer from impaired vision, deformities due to sitting in odd position for long hours on loom sheds, respiratory diseases from inhaling wool fibers and wounds from using sharp tools. “Our parents are poor and they asked us to work here so that we may help them getting food,” said Khalida, another child worker in a small rug industry located in the outskirts of city. There are around one dozen children working in this small industrial unit, head down, continuously weaving the carpets. “We are not paid well, but we have no other option,” lamented Ramsha.
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Source: News Pakistan