Of Carpets, Slaves and India's Stolen Children
Arthur J Pais
Exposing the inhuman conditions in which millions of children work and live is a mission for film-makers Kate Blewett and Brian Woods.
But the film-makers and activists who work mostly from London are not content with the celluloid exposure. They take their films not just to film festivals, but also to human rights organizations.
They take their films, such as EM>Innocents Abroad, to community groups, asking them to influence the public to boycott goods produced by chidren under slave conditions.
Their latest work, The Carpet Slaves: Stolen Children of India, will be aired on April 26 in America. It premiered on March 26.
Blewett and Woods, who have covered child slavery in more than a dozen countries, including China, Guatemala and Greece, claim that the produce of over 300,000 children working under duress ends up being sold in chic shops not only in America but in over two dozen affluent nations.
The 47-minute-long The Carpet Slaves... focuses on children working in poorly lit, unhygienic and dangerous carpet factories in such states as Uttar Pradesh. Though a UNICEF-backed organization stamps rugs that are not produced with slave labour, the film-makers note, not too many shops are stocking such rugs, since they are more expensive to purchase.
One of the best-known works of Blewett and Woods is The Dying Rooms, which exposed how female babies are allowed to die in many Chinese orphanages because the authorities think they will be less productive than males.
In Innocents Lost, they also focus, among other things, on how young boys are kidnapped from Bangladesh and other countries and forced to work as camel jockeys in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
(The Carpet Slaves will be shown on Cinemax East at 6.40 am and three hours later on Cinemax West.)