Nasser Rahmanan's "Woven Out of Thin Air" {Free for All, July 7}, in response to George Will's column "Slavery Exists -- and It Still Pays" {op-ed, June 21}, was disappointing even as dimly disguised disinformation.

Rahmanan, of the Oriental Rug Importer's Association, claimed that the Anti-Slavery Society has no proof to support its allegations that 100,000 malnourished and bonded child laborers work in the Indian carpet industry. But there is proof.

In 1984, for example, Chief Justice of India P. N. Bhagwati ruled to free 27 bonded children between the ages of 5 and 12 who had been kidnapped by a weaving contractor who extracted their labor through starving them, beating them, hanging them upside down and branding some with hot iron rods.

Bhagwati wrote in his judgment that the bonded laborers were "living a life worse than that of animals ... They either have to live in hovels or under the open sky and be satisfied with whatever little unwholesome food they manage to get, inadequate though it be."

That case was not exceptional. Bonded labor is a custom in India, and even today, an estimated 100,000 children are employed in the Mirzapur-Varanasi carpet belt alone; of those children, 15,000 have been sold or kidnapped into slavery. In addition, 90 percent of bonded labor in India belongs to the untouchable class, which is held in lower esteem than India's sacred cows.

Rahmanan claimed that action would be taken to stop labor abuses only if proof of such abuses was forthcoming. It is. I refer him to two Anti-Slavery Society publications ("A Pattern of Slavery -- India's Carpet Boys" and "Child Labor in India") and a recent UNICEF report, "The Invisible Child." Should he need further documentation, it is available.

Rahmanan further mentioned that children who work in the carpet industry are required, like other children, to attend school. He referred to government-sponsored vocational centers, where young weavers can be educated. But how does he explain government's failure to ratify an International Labor Organization convention making 15 the minimum working age for children?

Finally, Rahmanan said that carpet weaving is an excellent source of income. It is, not for the bonded child laborers but for the contractors, weavers, exporters, importers and their sundry collective trade associations.

The United States is the world's largest market for India's hand-woven carpets, but I don't believe that American consumers, if they knew, would want to buy products produced by child slaves.

-- K. S. Dhillon The writer works for the Anti-Slavery Society.