“Over the past 10 years I have watched RugMark take a lead role in the rescue and rehabilitation of child slaves and laborers in the carpet industry….Many of the images here are grim reminders that children are still exploited in the nether world of the global economy, but most show us that there is always hope when they are given a chance, and this is how it should be.” – U. Roberto Robin Romano, 2009
From 1996 through 2007, Robin Romano worked with the RugMark Foundation (known today as GoodWeave) to bring to light the plight of hundreds of thousands of child laborers in the carpet-weaving industry. Romano photographed children and families working in the looms, capturing their stories of both hardship and rescue. While the project shows harrowing imagery of children laboring in factories, it also highlights the work of the RugMark Foundation, featuring RugMark educational programs and inspections of carpet looms. At the forefront of the collection is the Faces of Freedom Exhibition, which offers a succinct portrayal of the fight to end child labor in the carpet industry.
In addition to the physical and digital files of photographs taken by Romano for the RugMark Foundation, the collection includes film negatives, contact sheets, work prints, promotional materials, exhibition collateral, and correspondence.