With carefully developed economic actions against

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with carefully developed economic actions against offending countries, and (b) creative activism by NGOs within offending countries. Exploitative child labor exists throughout the developing world, but it is most appalling in southeast Asia, where in countries such as India and Pakistan, children are often sold into indentured servitude or kidnapped to work on farms and in factories, mills, and sweatshops. Carpet factories espe- cially value young children “because they can squat easily, and their nimble fingers can make the smallest, tightest knots” (“Pakistanis Silence Youthful Voice,” 1995). Recent international outrage has led a German-Indian export-import association to form the Rugmark Foundation, which certifies carpets that are made in child-free factories. Because of the Indian govern- ment’s general indifference to the problem, however, several bills were con- sidered in the United States Congress that would ban all Indian carpets. One supporter of the bills, then Iowa senator Tom Harkin, asked, “Can we really afford the price that children pay to make these products?” (“The Young and the Damned,” 1996). The Child Labor Deterrence Act was proposed several times but was never passed into law. It did, however result in a great deal of debate about the complexity of the issue (see Schmitz, Traver, & Larson, 2004, for a detailed discussion of child labor in several countries). Although condemnation and legislation from outside the offending countries is impor- tant, social movements and activism within the countries is most effective. A number of NGOs in India and Pakistan have organized child workers, Copyright ©2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc. This work may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without express written permission of the publisher. Draft Proof - Do not copy, post, or distribute
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314 PART FOUR: Children, Social Problems, and the Future of Childhood lobbied their governments, and promoted mass demonstrations and rallies against the exploitation of child workers. Some groups and organizations go further and raid factories in search of children. Such raids have resulted in the rescue of many ill-treated child workers. One child, Iqbal Masih, was not so lucky. THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN OF CHILD WORKERS Not long ago, at the age of 10, Iqbal Masih sneaked away from a Pakistani carpet factory, where he had worked since he was 4 years old. (He was sold into indentured servitude by his parents for less than $16.) A labor orga- nizer told Iqbal that he did not have to return to work because of new child labor laws. But Iqbal went back anyway to tell other child workers. During the next 2 years, Iqbal roamed the Pakistani countryside, entering factories and bringing the message of freedom to his peers (“Pakistanis Silence Youthful Voice,” 1995, p. 6). His activism drew international attention, and Reebok International brought him to Boston, where he was presented with a human rights award. In a 7-minute acceptance speech, Iqbal said he wanted to become a lawyer “so he could be the Abraham Lincoln of his people” (“Pakistanis Silence Youthful Voice,” 1995, p. 6). With the promise of a 4-year
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