Kailash Satyarthi: “The people from everywhere in the world should feel, number one, that slavery’s bad, that exploitation of children is bad, it has to go, and, secondly, they should have a belief that it is possible, it is happening, it is not that it is very pessimistic and say: oh they are poor, they are poor countries and that thing could happen. It is not true. Poor people, poor countries can bring about change, and it is happening here. So, they should have a belief that the change is possible, that we can make a better world to live in, and that will happen.”
Article from The New York Times
Oct. 10, 2014
NEW DELHI — Many years have passed, but a police chief named Amitabh Thakur can remember the precise moment when he first set eyes on Kailash Satyarthi, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Mr. Satyarthi was lying on the ground, bleeding profusely from the head, while a group of men converged on him with bats and iron rods. They worked for the Great Roman Circus, which was illegally employing teenagers trafficked from Nepal as dancing girls. Mr. Satyarthi, a Gandhian activist in a simple white cotton tunic, had come to free them.
As he approached the scene, the chief realized he was interrupting a savage beating.
“I remember that when I reached this man, he was rather composed,” Mr. Thakur said. “I was very impressed, for the simple reason that a man was putting his life in danger for a noble cause.”
Mr. Satyarthi is not an international celebrity like 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, with whom he is sharing the prize. Instead, he has labored for three decades to shave away at the numbingly huge problem of child slavery in India, using undercover operatives and camera crews to find the airless workrooms and mine shafts where children were being kept.
The circus raid was a reminder of the factors that converge in favor of employers using bonded labor in India: caste differences, religious differences, political and economic leverage. About 28 million children ages 6 to 14 are working in India, according to Unicef. Mr. Satyarthi’s organization, called Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Children Mission, is credited with freeing some 70,000 of them. In 1994, he started Rugmark, now GoodWeave International, in which rugs are certified to have been made without child slavery.