Each child is precious

Former child laborers take part in an anti child-labor demonstration in New Delhi, Friday, November 8, 1996. At that time, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that nearly twice as many children in developing countries were in full-time work than previously thought. Current estimates reveal that around 250 million children (ages 5 to 14) are employed, half of these full time.

As Young Children, my sister and I visited our cousins in a village in our native Iran. One afternoon, they took us to see how the precious carpets of that region are woven. What I saw that day has haunted me my entire life. Instead of seeing artisans working at their craft, we found children the same age as my sister and I, huddled four to a bench—their pale, frail bodies barely visible in the dark mud houses where they worked. Only a tiny shaft of light came through a hole in the wall. These children didn't look like any children we had ever seen before. And they were the carpet weavers.

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