Children's Rights and Child Labor
Advocacy Bonded Labor Parliamentarians Solidarity Fair Trade Boycott Migrant Worker Emancipate Caste System Untouchables
Kailash Satyarthi is India’s lodestar for the abolition of child labor. Since 1980, he has led the rescue of over 75,000 bonded and child slaves in India and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation. Kailash has emancipated thousands of children from bonded labor, a form of slavery where a desperate family typically borrows needed funds from a lender (sums as little as $35) and is forced to hand over a child as surety until the funds can be repaid. But often the money can never be repaid—and the child is sold and resold to different masters. Bonded laborers work in the diamond, stonecutting, manufacturing, and other industries. They are especially prevalent in the carpet export business, where they hand-knot rugs for the U.S. and other markets. Satyarthi rescues children and women from enslavement in the overcrowded, filthy, and isolated factories where conditions are deplorable, with inhuman hours, unsafe workplaces, rampant torture, and sexual assault. Satyarthi has faced false charges and death threats for his work. The constant death threats are taken seriously—two of Satyarthi’s colleagues have been murdered. He has been recognized around the world for his work in abolishing child labor. Satyarthi organized and led two great marches across India to raise awareness about child labor. On the global stage, he has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the 'Global March Against Child Labor', active in over 140 countries.
Kailash Satyarthi was the recipient of the 1995 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and the 2002 Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Award. The U.S. State Department’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report has named him a “Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery.”